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May 14, 2017

2017 NFL Power Rankings: Tennessee Titans Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Tennessee Titans/a> rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 11th
  • Average score: 11.6
  • Best rank/site: 9th (SI.com/Fox)
  • Lowest rank/site: 16th (CBS)

Based on where the Tennessee Titans stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

SI.com: 9th

Marcus Mariota’s season-cratering fractured fibula and the Texans’ multi-game stay in the playoffs has overshadowed the fact that the Titans were the most talented team in the AFC South by the end of last season. Nos. 1 and 15 on the FBS’s all-time receiving yards leaderboard, Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor, will be waiting for him when he returns to full health.​​​​​

Fox Sports: 9th

The Titans went into the draft with two glaring needs: cornerback and wide receiver. They hit on both in the first three rounds with Corey Davis, Adoree’ Jackson and Taywan Taylor. Davis is a true No. 1 receiver, while Jackson can contribute in all three phases of the game. the Titans got significantly better in the draft and are on the rise in the up-and-coming AFC South.

ESPN: 12th

Two AFC South teams in the top 12? Feels like a stretch, but the Titans sure did load up with new faces (Logan Ryan, Adoree' Jackson) in the secondary and a first-round wide receiver (Corey Davis) for quarterback Marcus Mariota. They were last season's surprise, which sometimes means you have to take a step back before moving forward again. But it's not as if they're in the AFC West.

NFL.com: 12th

Call this a display of confidence in the Titans. Even if first-round pick Corey Davis doesn't work out, Tennessee is in position to make a January run. On that note, Davis hasn't been able to work out for Tennessee -- or anyone else -- because of an ankle injury. Thus, he's a small risk with huge talent. One facet of his game he'll have to develop -- something he barely had to fuss over while toasting every dude who thought he could play corner in the MAC -- is blocking. Make no mistake, the Titans will run the rock. TE Jonnu Smith (Round 3) could be a real add in that area, too.

CBS Sports: 16th

They clearly drafted with an eye on getting quarterback Marcus Mariota more weapons. Now comes the biggest question for Mike Mularkey: Will he be allowed to use them?

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Green Bay Packers Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Green Bay Packers rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 3rd
  • Average score: 4.4
  • Best rank/site: 3rd (ESPN/CBS)
  • Lowest rank/site: 7th (Fox)

Based on where the Green Bay Packers stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

ESPN: 3rd

They handed Aaron Rodgers a Martellus Bennett signing in March before spending their first four draft picks on the defense. Rodgers seems like a big-picture guy, so he probably understands that helping the defense helps him indirectly. And if he complains, Ted Thompson will just say, "Martellus Bennett though."

CBS Sports: 3rd

They added some much-needed help on defense in the draft at positions of need. If that side of the ball takes a big step forward, they will be back in the Super Bowl.

SI.com: 4th

​​​​As Aaron Rodgers torched the league down the stretch, the thought was impossible to ignore: How ridiculous would this offense be with a fully functional running back on the active roster? Versatile speedster Ty Montgomery will still have a big role to play, but fourth-round pick Jamaal Williams is built like a tank and ran like one at BYU. He looks the part of a potential bellcow.​

NFL.com: 5th

Tough to decide precisely which team should sit here in the Power Rankings. For now, we're going with the Packers, who are better at the quarterback position than the Cowboys and were able to contribute to a lineup that plays NOW, beginning with cornerback Kevin King, an outstanding pick at 33rd overall (he could've gone 10 spots earlier) who could end up starting over Davon House, or at least playing in nickel packages. Expect fellow second-round pick Josh Jones to be getting in on dime packages, as well. Third-round defensive tackle Montravius Adams should play right away, too.

Fox Sports: 7th

The Packers moved out of the first round to No. 33 in a trade with the Browns, landing Kevin King – a tall, rangy cornerback who fills a need perfectly. They continued to go defense with safety Josh Jones, a physical specimen, as well as defensive tackle Montravius Adams and outside linebacker Vince Biegel. All four players will contribute right away as Green Bay vastly improved its pass defense — good news for GM Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Kansas City Chiefs Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Kansas City Chiefs rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 9th
  • Average score: 9.6
  • Best rank/site: 8th (Multiple)
  • Lowest rank/site: 13th (Fox)

Based on where the Kansas City Chiefs stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

SI.com: 8th

​​​​If the Chiefs have any interest in consolidating their backfield workload, they made the right call in spending a third-round pick on Toledo RB Kareem Hunt, who surpassed 300 touches and came into his own as a passing game weapon last year. If he can wrest the starting role from Spencer Ware, who failed to top 100 total yards in a game from November on, the Chiefs’ offense might look a little less busy.​

ESPN: 8th

How many times do you have to beat a team in a season before you can rank ahead of them in the following May's Power Rankings? Apparently, the answer is more than two. The Chiefs are so good that they traded this year's and next year's first-round picks for a quarterback who isn't going to play this coming season.

NFL.com: 8th

Andy Reid and Co. valued Patrick Mahomes' talent enough to pay a future first-round pick to get him. If the best time to look for a quarterback is when you don't need one, then Kansas City was right to go after the rubber-band-armed Mahomes. On the other hand, that saying presupposes that a talented quarterback falls to a team, not that the team will move up (and pay a pretty penny) to acquire him. In essence, what the Chiefs did was no different than what the Bears did to take Mitchell Trubisky, or what the Texans did to obtain Deshaun Watson. Bad move? Nope. A little strange, given that K.C. is a Super Bowl contender with a decent quarterback already? Hmm. What do you think, #ChiefsKingdom? (@HarrisonNFL)

CBS Sports: 11th

Wonder how Alex Smith will play this season knowing they traded up in the first round to get his replacement in Patrick Mahomes? Was that the right move?

Fox Sports: 13th

The Chiefs didn’t do a lot to improve in 2017. Patrick Mahomes is a project quarterback who likely will start in 2018, and their second-round pick, Tanoh Kpassagnon, is a developmental pass rusher who’s a year away from contributing consistently. Kareem Hunt will join the Chiefs’ crowded backfield and get some touches, but he’s not a big difference maker right off the bat.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Seattle Seahawks Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Seattle Seahawks rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 8th
  • Average score: 7.4
  • Best rank/site: 4th (CBS/Fox)
  • Lowest rank/site: 13th (SI.com)

Based on where the Seattle Seahawks stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

CBS Sports: 4th

They got help on the offensive line in the draft, which was a must. The time is now for this group, especially with the way they drafted in the secondary.

Fox Sports: 4th

The Seahawks went heavy on the defense in the first four rounds, drafting five players on that side of the ball. They added some depth at cornerback in Shaq Griffin, while also addressing the future at safety with Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson. Their best pick was Malik McDowell, a talented defensive lineman who needs to have a fire lit under him to maximize his potential. Sounds like a job for John GM Schneider and coach Pete Carroll.

ESPN: 6th

Earl Thomas didn't retire. Richard Sherman didn't get traded. Russell Wilson has probably healed from all the injuries he suffered last season behind John Schneider's revolutionary four-man offensive line. So all that is good news. The bad is that the Seahawks didn't do much about the line. Again.

NFL.com: 10th

The Seahawks remain in the top 10, although they've been leapfrogged by the pesky Bucs -- a team Seattle lost to last year when Russell Wilson couldn't get a pass off. Six sacks later, Seattle was on the wrong end of a 14-5 score. (Jay Buhner hit three solo HRs, though.) Why is that important? Because as well as GM John Schneider did in the draft -- with solid picks like DE Malik McDowell and S Tedric Thompson -- Seattle didn't scoop up any help at tackle until the 11th hour. Unless Tom Cable can work magic, the swarming around Wilson will continue -- and the Seahawks will get bounced in the playoffs.

SI.com: 13th

As long as bargain signing Luke Joeckel gets back in time from knee surgery, the Seahawks could be starting a pair of tackles who played guard last season in Week 1. Probably not ideal, but it’d be an upgrade over forcing George Fant to man to blind side again while he continues to learn football on the fly.​​​​​

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Minnesota Vikings Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Minnesota Vikings rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 22nd
  • Average score: 21.2
  • Best rank/site: 18th (SI.com)
  • Lowest rank/site: 23rd (CBS)

Based on where the Minnesota Vikings stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

SI.com: 18th

​​​​Declining Teddy Bridgewater’s fifth-year option this week is mostly just a sign of how far he still has to go in his recovery: His contract, including the option, tolls to 2018 if he spends at least the first six games of this year on the PUP list. The addition of Latavius Murray and Dalvin Cook (and the subtraction of LT Matt Kalil) could make Sam Bradford’s life a little easier, to say nothing of having more than a week of preseason prep to learn the offense.​

ESPN: 21st

The Vikings think they upgraded at offensive tackle, and I guess you could make the argument that they could have signed two recliners and not been any worse off there than they were last season. But Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers are in the prove-it zone, and the success of Latavius Murray and Dalvin Cook is tied to theirs.

NFL.com: 22nd

Like the Ravens, the Vikings are probably too low on our league rundown. Unfortunately, we can't put a whole gaggle of teams at No. 16 -- there are about 10 that belong there. Seen a lot of chatter about Minnesota's attention to the run game in the draft (SEE: running back Dalvin Cook in Round 2, center Pat Elflein in Round 3). That's been discussed ad nauseam. Meanwhile, fourth-round pick Jaleel Johnson could contribute in the D-line rotation immediately. Another value pick: TE Bucky Hodges in Round 6. The Vikes might not be this low for long.

Fox Sports: 22nd

Without a first-round pick, the Vikings’ haul was a bit weak. They didn’t improve noticeably at any position, mostly notably filling their hole at running back with Dalvin Cook. Pat Elflein will compete at center and guard, but as a third-round pick, there’s no guarantee he starts. Mike Zimmer's team still has issues on the offensive line, which once again will haunt them in 2017.

CBS Sports: 23rd

They've improved their offensive line and this offseason and added a feature back in Dalvin Cook. But they aren't close to being as good as the Packers.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Oakland Raiders Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Oakland Raiders rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 6th
  • Average score: 5.6
  • Best rank/site: 3rd (NFL.com)
  • Lowest rank/site: 7th (ESPN/CBS)

Based on where the Oakland Raiders stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

NFL.com: 3rd

The Marshawn Lynch acquisition is no small deal. Beast Mode might be over 30, but he is playing for love more than the money and adds a much-needed component to this team: the four-minute offense. He will be the Dennis Eckersley for this ball club. Lynch really is the modern-day John Riggins. Two of the best true power backs to ever live (next to Earl Campbell), both of whom dominated in the postseason. Each has his own signature run: Riggins to close out Super Bowl XVII, Lynch to Beastquake the Saints. Both were mildly, wildly, eccentric. And both retired in what was supposed to be their 10th year, only to want to return to the brutality. As for the Raiders' draft? B to A-minus. Loved the Obi Melifonwu choice. The Gareon Conley pick was certainly controversial, and we'll have to see how that plays out.

SI.com: 5th

​​​​The jury’s still out on the net effects of the Raiders’ defense-heavy spending spree from a year ago. No high-impact moves were made to beef up the front seven that failed to sack Brock Osweiler in a humbling wild-card round loss to the Texans, and first-rounder Gareon Conley’s contributions to an underwhelming cornerback group as a rookie are contingent on his avoiding charges in the wake of rape allegations the week of the draft. Whether Oakland’s relatively quiet spring was an indicator of patience or a lack of easy answers remains to be seen.​

Fox Sports: 6th

It remains to be seen how the Raiders’ first-round pick will play out with CB Gareon Conley still being investigated for sexual assault, but if he’s cleared, he could be one of the biggest steals of the draft. Obi Melifonwu will be a fun piece next to Karl Joseph at safety despite being a bit of a raw player. The success of Oakland’s draft haul will come down to Conley’s status, though, which is a big risk for GM Reggie McKenzie and coach Jack Del Rio.

ESPN: 7th

Jared Cook and Marshawn Lynch add some attitude to the offense. Derek Carr looks to build on his breakout season. The Raiders went 12-4 but washed out early in the playoffs because of Carr's ill-timed broken leg. So they're all-in for a title before they head off to Las Vegas in a couple of years.

CBS Sports: 7th

Getting Derek Carr back healthy is the most important thing about their offseason. If he's back, they should win the AFC West.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Carolina Panthers Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Carolina Panthers rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 18th (T-IND)
  • Average score: 18.4
  • Best rank/site: 17th (ESPN/CBS)
  • Lowest rank/site: 20th (SI.com)

Based on where the Carolina Panthers stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

ESPN: 17th

With all due respect to Christian McCaffrey, Curtis Samuel and anybody else the Panthers added, the most important people in this Carolina offseason are the surgeons who worked on Cam Newton's shoulder last month. When and how effectively Cam can return is the only story here.

CBS Sports: 17th

Here's another team that drafted with the idea of helping their quarterback, Cam Newton. They got two versatile runner-pass catchers in the first two rounds. I still worry about their pass rush with so much age.

NFL.com: 19th

Don't anticipate the old Panthers going 6-10 again. Cam Newton has a freshly repaired shoulder. He also has a shiny new toy in Christian McCaffrey. Jonathan Stewart ain't shiny, but he will be good as new in games where he is not asked to shoulder the full load (with McCaffrey around). Curtis Samuel is like Cobra Commander -- not as cool a figure as Storm Shadow (McCaffrey), but ready to rock 'n' roll out of the second round and into Mike Shula's offense. Third-round pick Daeshon Hall is poised to contribute on the other side of the ball, as are new/old faces Julius Peppers and Captain Munnerlyn. Slowly getting excited about Riverboat Ron's group.

Fox Sports: 19th

The Panthers went from having a slow offense that lacked explosiveness to having two players with outstanding versatility and speed. RB Christian McCaffrey and WR Curtis Samuel should be contributors in all three phases right away, giving Cam Newton playmakers to work with on offense. They addressed their biggest needs with guard Taylor Moton and defensive end Daeshon Hall, too. The Panthers are headed in the right direction.

SI.com: 20th

Christian McCaffrey is more runner than receiver, Curtis Samuel is more receiver than runner, and together they should allow Mike Shula to cook up some weird backfield combinations down the road. Undersized fifth-round pick Corn Elder and veteran Captain Munnerlyn were the only significant additions to the cornerback group, a sign of faith in the three players Dave Gettleman drafted there last year in the wake of the Josh Norman breakup.​

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Los Angeles Chargers Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Los Angeles Chargers rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 25th
  • Average score: 23.6
  • Best rank/site: 19th (CBS)
  • Lowest rank/site: 27th (Fox)

Based on where the Los Angeles Chargers stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

CBS Sports: 19th

They drafted with the idea of making one last fling with Philip Rivers before he retires, which was the right thing to do. The offensive line will be much improved and adding a big target in Mike Williams will help.

SI.com: 23rd

​​​​Gus Bradley might have been L.A.’s best acquisition of the spring—the defense might threaten top-10 numbers under the direction of the ex-Jaguars coach. The Chargers couldn’t help themselves in the first round of the draft, grabbing Mike Williams to give Philip Rivers yet another big target, but the rest of their moves were quiet and necessary, particularly the second-day selections of interior linemen Forrest Lamp (provided his services aren’t needed at tackle) and Dan Feeney.​

NFL.com: 24th

Already moving these guys up. Receiver Mike Williams (Round 1, No. 7 overall) could make a difference from Day 1, specifically for Philip Rivers. The franchise QB has been throwing to backups, other teams' leftovers and "upside" guys for too long. Tyrell Williams has potential, but Keenan Allen has been hurt and the team has given the Stevie Johnsons of the world too many looks. Going beyond WR, the fact the front office is helping its 35-year-old signal caller by fortifying the line up front (three of Los Angeles' seven picks were used on offensive linemen) was encouraging, too. Am I too encouraged if I say the L.A. Chargers could eke out a wild-card spot if -- if -- they stay healthy? Please stay healthy.

ESPN: 25th

Every other team in the AFC West is in the top 10. None of their quarterbacks is as good as this team's is. Philip Rivers needs help, and the Chargers got him some with Mike Williams and a couple of guards in the first three rounds of the draft. This team blew a lot of fourth-quarter leads last season; hold half of them and this ranking is way too low.

Fox Sports: 27th

Philip Rivers has to be one of the happiest men around as the Chargers gave him another weapon in Mike Williams. He’ll expand the offense as a possession receiver next to Keenan Allen. Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney both will have a good chance to start on the offensive line this season, as will Desmond King at safety and nickel corner. The Chargers did well on all three days and will be competitive next season.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Philadelphia Eagles Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Philadelphia Eagles rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 24th
  • Average score: 22.8
  • Best rank/site: 18th (NFL.com)
  • Lowest rank/site: 25th (SI.com/CBS)

Based on where the Philadelphia Eagles stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

NFL.com: 18th

Much props to the city of Philadelphia for the warm, er, enthusiastic reception to the draft. With all the ballyhoo regarding the event landing in the historic city for the first time in decades, few around the country seemed to notice the Eagles' specific draft. This defense is going to be legit. The unit already was legit at home last season, but the additions of defensive end Derek Barnett, cornerback Sidney Jones and cornerback Rasul Douglas must have felt like Christmas gifts (in the city that booed Santa) for DC Jim Schwartz. I know QB Carson Wentz is still the focal point for this organization. Betcha the defense will win the team as many games.

ESPN: 22nd

Howie Roseman is still playing the long game with very young draft picks and one guy (Sidney Jones) who might not help until 2018. But the Eagles feel like they hit on Carson Wentz, and they got him Alshon Jeffery to help his second year along. So, there's nothing wrong with the long game. Fans just have to be patient. Is that a problem?

Fox Sports: 24th

The Eagles’ biggest issues were on offense last season, and they didn’t take a single player on that side of the ball until Saturday. The defense got better with Derek Barnett and Rasul Douglas, but Sidney Jones may not contribute much in 2017 after suffering a torn Achilles at his pro day. He was a risky pick in the second round for a team in need of cornerback help. I didn’t think that was a chance the Eagles could take.

CBS Sports: 25th

They will be improved from a year ago with the growth of Carson Wentz, but I think it's one more year before they push for the division title.

SI.com: 25th

According to Philly.com, Jordan Matthews is one of just eight receivers since 2000 to top 60 catches and 700 yards in each of his first three seasons. It will be fascinating to see how many targets free-agent signees Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith siphon away from Matthews this fall, especially if he gets passed over for a contract extension ahead of the final year of his rookie deal.​​​​​

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Jacksonville Jaguars Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Jacksonville Jaguars rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 27th
  • Average score: 26.8
  • Best rank/site: 26th (NFL.com/Fox)
  • Lowest rank/site: 28th (SI.com)

Based on where the Jacksonville Jaguars stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

Fox Sports: 26th

The Jaguars finally have an identity on offense thanks to the addition of Leonard Fournette. He can be the bruiser Jacksonville desperately needed, while Cam Robinson can compete at left tackle, right tackle and guard. The Jaguars had a good weekend in Philadelphia, but they still have Blake Bortles at quarterback, which is a big issue.

NFL.com: 26th

Thought the Jaguars did well in the draft. More importantly, a change is coming in Jacksonville. It might not come at quarterback, but the Leonard Fournette and Cam Robinson selections signaled a certain reduction in Blake Bortles' pass attempts this year. EVP Tom Coughlin won his first Super Bowl ring as an assistant with a Giants team (under Bill Parcells) that ran the hell out of the ball. Coughlin won his second ring as the head coach of a Big Blue team that ran the hell out of the ball. You get the point.

CBS Sports: 27th

They have a running game now with Leonard Fournette and the defense should be good. So, as usual, it's all on quarterback Blake Bortles.

ESPN: 27th

The annual kings of free agency try once again for that elusive six-win season. Was A.J. Bouye a one-year wonder or a cornerstone signing? Is Leonard Fournette this year's Ezekiel Elliott? Is Cam Robinson ready? Lots of questions in Jacksonville, where the answers always seem elusive.

SI.com: 28th

​​​​That O-line could still crater Blake Bortles’s make-or-break season in Jacksonville, but by grabbing Leonard Fournette with the No. 4 pick the Jags are trying to leave no doubt their QB has been given every resource for success. Bortles may have to put the team on his shoulders anyway early on: Five of the Jaguars’ first six opponents ranked in the top half of the league in rushing yards allowed per attempt last year.​

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 10th
  • Average score: 10.8
  • Best rank/site: 8th (CBS)
  • Lowest rank/site: 14th (ESPN)

Based on where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

CBS Sports: 8th

They've had a heck of an offseason, and with Jameis Winston entering his third season they are poised to push for the division title.

NFL.com: 9th

Better start paying attention to what the Bucs have been doing. Everyone, including your hack writer, is singing the praises of the O.J. Howard pick (even if Tampa simply was enjoying the wonderful luck of having the tight end fall to 19). Second-round pick Justin Evans should help immediately at safety. Spoke with my producer on "Total Access," an avid pirate-ship fan who was not happy GM Jason Licht didn't take a running back ... like Dalvin Cook. Welp, Cook (who went to the Vikings at 41st overall) wasn't going to be there when Tampa came up in the second round (50th overall). Could they have taken, say, Kareem Hunt (86th overall pick to the Chiefs) instead of wide receiver Chris Godwin (No. 84) in the third? Maybe. But remember, rookie running backs who can't pass protect will get the quarterback killed. Jameis Winston is the future of this franchise. Thus, it's Doug, Jacquizz and Chuck for now at RB.

Fox Sports: 11th

O.J. Howard will have a huge impact for the Buccaneers in Year 1, giving Jameis Winston yet another weapon on offense. The Alabama tight end could wind up being the steal of the draft after falling to No. 19. In the subsequent rounds, the Bucs added safety depth with Justin Evans – a big need – and took a chance on Kendell Beckwith, a linebacker coming off of an ACL injury. Coach Dirk Koetter's Bucs got much, much better this weekend.

SI.com: 12th

Allow me to be the only person on the internet to tell you to hold your horses on the coronation of O.J. Howard. He caught just seven touchdowns in four years at Alabama; you have to go back 10 years to find a draft where the first tight end off the board scored less often in college. On the other hand, that tight end was Greg Olsen, who found the end zone six times in three years at Miami. Either way, Tampa Bay was wise to load Jameis Winston up with options this spring outside of their athletic first-round pick.​​​​​

ESPN: 14th

It was as if the Bucs and the Titans were having a contest to see who could gather more weapons for their third-year star quarterback. Jameis Winston picked up DeSean Jackson in free agency and O.J. Howard in the draft's first round. Not bad. What Mariota still has over Winston is someone to take his handoffs.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: San Francisco 49ers Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the San Francisco 49ers rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 30th
  • Average score: 30.0
  • Best rank/site: 28th (Fox)
  • Lowest rank/site: 31st (ESPN/CBS)

Based on where the San Francisco 49ers stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

Fox Sports: 28th

John Lynch absolutely crushed his first draft as a GM, landing both Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster in the first round. The 49ers got much better, but the roster is still awful. They don’t have a franchise quarterback and the offense lacks playmakers. They’re still a year away from competing.

NFL.com: 30th

Boy, that John Lynch sure is shy, huh? The rookie GM didn't hesitate when it came to pushing his chips to the middle of the table or bluffing. (Did he really have another big offer for that No. 2 pick, Bears fans? Whew boy.) The 49ers made themselves better -- if not today, then in the future. You can't build it all in a day, something Lynch knows better than most, as he sat through three lean seasons with the Bucs as a player before Tony Dungy was hired in 1996. Even with the Hall of Fame coach, Tampa still went 6-10 before becoming a contender. First-round pick Solomon Thomas should be at least one player who contributes right away in San Francisco. Ditto Brian Hoyer -- i.e., I applaud the Niners for not getting QB-panicky.

SI.com: 30th

​​​​The lasting question from Peter King’s must-read behind-the-scenes look at how the 49ers grabbed two of the draft’s top five defensive talents in Round 1: Was C.J. Beathard, who capped his college career with a 7-for-23, 55-yard, three-interception performance in Iowa’s blowout Outback Bowl loss, really the only quarterback Kyle Shanahan would take out of this year’s draft class?​

CBS Sports: 31st

John Lynch is off to a fast start as general manager, but this team has a long way to go. There will be a lot of growing pains.

ESPN: 31st

Sure, the 49ers fleeced the Bears in the draft and came up with top-10 players at picks 2 and 31. But they still don't have a quarterback. What coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch do have is time. With a pair of six-year contracts in hand, they know their quarterback could still be in high school.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Indianapolis Colts Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Indianapolis Colts rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 18th (T-CAR)
  • Average score: 18.4
  • Best rank/site: 14th (SI.com)
  • Lowest rank/site: 22nd (CBS)

Based on where the Indianapolis Colts stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

SI.com: 14th

​​​​Indy spent the first two days of the draft on defense, stopping ballhawking safety Malik Hooker’s slide into the middle of Round 1. On the other side of the ball, don’t sleep on Kamar Aiken, who signed a pretty modest one-year, $2.6 million deal after falling off the radar in Baltimore but could vault the crowded field vying for No. 2 duties behind T.Y. Hilton.​

Fox Sports: 17th

In a year or two, we’ll probably be talking about the Colts as the draft’s biggest winners. How they came away with safety Malik Hooker and cornerback Quincy Jones at 15 and 46 is beyond me, but Chris Ballard should be doing backflips in his first year as GM. The Colts got substantially better with those two players, in addition to defensive end Tarell Basham, right tackle Zach Banner and running back Marlon Mack. The Colts improved dramatically in the draft.

ESPN: 19th

The Colts appear to have upgraded at general manager, and new guy Chris Ballard justifiably went defense heavy in the draft. Keeping Andrew Luck off the field a little bit more isn't a bad way to try to keep Andrew Luck safe.

NFL.com: 20th

New GM Chris Ballard didn't get cute. The defense contributed to many things last year. Winning wasn't one of them. The Colts finished 30th in total defense. So Ballard got to work, adding Jabaal Sheard and Johnathan Hankins in free agency before taking highly touted safety Malik Hooker in the first round. Adding Quincy Wilson (Round 2) and Tarell Basham (Round 3) furthers the point here. In layman's terms, Andrew Luck won't have to put up 30 points to win games.

CBS Sports: 22nd

It's all about improvement on defense with this team, and adding free safety Malik Hooker in the first round and corner Quincy Wilson in the second were nice picks. But they have to get a lot better on that side of the ball.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: New York Giants Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the New York Giants rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 7th
  • Average score: 7.2
  • Best rank/site: 5th (CBS)
  • Lowest rank/site: 9th (ESPN)

Based on where the New York Giants stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

CBS Sports: 5th

Their time to push for a title with Eli Manning is shrinking, which is why taking his replacement in the third round in Davis Webb was an odd move. I do think giving him the added weapons they have will help.

SI.com: 7th

​​​​Signing Brandon Marshall, drafting Evan Engram and handing the running game over to Paul Perkins should make New York’s offense consistently fun. But will the defense still have Dallas’s number without Johnathan Hankins in the middle? Lucky for us, NBC and the NFL have no sense of imagination when it comes to scheduling, so that question will be answered on Sunday Night Football to cap Week 1.​

NFL.com: 7th

Small move down for the Giants, though they did not suffer an off-point draft class. Rather, New York's draft strategy was not as consistent with fortifying the team today as Green Bay's and Dallas'. Case in point: First-round pick Evan Engram should contribute immediately at tight end, but how much is the question. With slot receiver Sterling Shepard (drafted last year) and new signee Brandon Marshall taking their share of targets, Engram might make less of an impact, even accounting for Big Blue's recent blues at TE. Case in point No. 2: Third-round pick Davis Webb, the former Cal QB. An obvious, smart pick for the future, but it doesn't help the product on the field now as much as an offensive lineman would have.

Fox Sports: 8th

Coach Ben McAdoo and the Giants addressed needs right off the bat, drafting tight end Evan Engram and Dalvin Tomlinson in the first and second rounds. Engram is similar to a wide receiver, but he’ll be a seam-buster in New York’s dynamic offense. Tomlinson will replace Johnathan Hankins at 3-technique defensive tackle. QB Davis Webb won’t have an impact in 2017 or maybe even 2018, but he’s a long-term investment. Adding RB Wayne Gallman in the fourth round is good value as he has starter potential.

ESPN: 9th

The Giants brought back almost the exact same defense that dominated for them last season, which is good. They added Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram to the passing game, which is good. They didn't do much at running back or offensive line, which is potentially disastrous. But at least they know how to beat the Cowboys.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Chicago Bears Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Chicago Bears rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 29th
  • Average score: 29.6
  • Best rank/site: 29th (Multiple)
  • Lowest rank/site: 31st (SI.com)

Based on where the Chicago Bears stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

ESPN: 29th

Sign the Buccaneers' backup quarterback and trade a cartload of picks to move up to No. 2 and draft a quarterback? The Bears look like they're trying to replicate last year's Eagles quarterback moves, except with worse players. If Mitchell Trubisky is a franchise QB, the price won't have mattered. In similar news, if I pick the correct six lottery numbers, this will be my final column.

NFL.com: 29th

Heard GM Ryan Pace on Sirius XM radio Monday discussing his thinking in terms of the whys and hows of moving up to acquire Mitch Trubisky. Pace took a slightly different approach. Instead of providing the usual everyone is trying to find THE guy explanation, Pace mentioned wanting to upgrade the ENTIRE position group, including having a productive quarterback room. Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez and Mitch Trubisky are all new in Chicago. RE: Tarik Cohen, fourth-round pick, Pace spoke of his time in New Orleans and the issues Saints opponents had matching up with Darren Sproles. There is your friendly rationale for that pick.

Fox Sports: 29th

It’s hard to blame the Bears for going up to get Mitchell Trubisky, but it’s a questionable move after giving Mike Glennon $45 million. They aren’t going to scare any teams offensively, and the defense is filled with holes, particularly at safety and cornerback.

CBS Sports: 30th

Why pay Mike Glennon if you are going to go big at quarterback in the draft, trading up to take Mitchell Trubisky? Coach John Fox couldn't be happy about that.

SI.com: 31st

Mitchell Trubisky vs. Mike Glennon is the early favorite to be this summer’s saddest quarterback competition, but the post-Alshon Jeffrey receiving corps could end up being the ball and chain that keeps this offense from making noise, especially if Kevin White again can’t stay healthy.​​​​​

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Houston Texans Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Houston Texans rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 14th
  • Average score: 15.0
  • Best rank/site: 11th (ESPN)
  • Lowest rank/site: 21st (CBS)

Based on where the Houston Texans stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

ESPN: 11th

Two of the quarterbacks the Texans considered -- Tony Romo and Jay Cutler -- took broadcasting jobs instead. They ended up with Deshaun Watson, and given Bill O'Brien's quarterback-shuffling proclivities, Watson is sure to start six or eight games this year -- just maybe not in a row.

Fox Sports: 12th

The Texans made a huge push in the right direction by trading up for Deshaun Watson, likely their starting quarterback in 2017. He fits Bill O’Brien’s system perfectly and should have success from Day 1 with all the weapons he has around him. The addition of Zach Cunningham in the second round was huge, too, as he’s a rangy linebacker who loves to hit. The Texans had a really good haul this weekend.

SI.com: 15th

​​​​The Brock Osweiler trade showed the Texans were done being passive about their standing within the upper mediocrity of the AFC, and they came out of the first three rounds with three productive college stars in Deshaun Watson, D’Onta Foreman and Zach Cunningham, all three of which should make them better immediately. If Watson wins the starting job coming out of the preseason, he should have the inside track to Rookie of the Year.​

NFL.com: 16th

So much was made about the effort to find a quarterback of the future and then ultimately landing Deshaun Watson that the rest of the Texans' draft was obscured. Second-round pick Zach Cunningham might not be a thumper, but he could be an excellent pursuit linebacker. While he was thought to be a WLB in a 4-3, Romeo Crennel's defense is a bit unorthodox, with "DE" Jadeveon Clowney often standing up. Cunningham should play in front of Brennan Scarlett and others. Loved the D'Onta Foreman pick. He will be a nice yin to Lamar Miller's yang. And his story ...

CBS Sports: 21st

They say Tom Savage will be the starting quarterback, but do you really trade up to get Deshaun Watson in the first round if that's the case? I don't think so.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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May 13, 2017

2017 NFL Power Rankings: Dallas Cowboys Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Dallas Cowboys rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 4th (T-PIT)
  • Average score: 5.0
  • Best rank/site: 2nd (SI.com)
  • Lowest rank/site: 9th (CBS)

Based on where the Dallas Cowboys stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

SI.com: 2nd

​​​​Get ready to hear a lot about Chaz Green. After Dallas passed on drafting any O-linemen, he’s the assumed front-runner to assume starting right tackle duties from the retired Doug Free. Green was a third-round pick in 2015 but has managed just two starts and four total appearances in the two seasons since—back surgery landed him on IR in December. Free-agent pickup Byron Bell or mauling guard La’el Collins could step in if Green can’t meet that unit’s high standards.​

Fox Sports: 3rd

Jerry Jones' Cowboys completely overhauled their secondary in one night, drafting Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis on Day 2. They’ll team with Taco Charlton, who will provide some much-needed help at defensive end. Dallas addressed all of its biggest needs on defense after there were serious concerns about the cornerback position entering the draft. They may have gotten better in the secondary despite losing four starters at defensive back.

ESPN: 5th

The Cowboys went 8-8 three years in a row from 2011 to 2013. Their win totals the past three years are 12, 4 and 13. That pattern doesn't bode well, but that offensive line travels, so I guess that keeps the Cowboys here. Nobody seems to care that no one in their secondary is finished with finals yet.

NFL.com: 6th

Like the Packers, the Cowboys took care of business for the 2017 season and then some. Knowing they had to have a pass rusher, Dallas nabbed Taco Charlton in the first round. The taco salad came when the Joneses saddled up with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Xavier Woods in the secondary, in that the fortunes of the pass rush can't be separated from those of the secondary. The only disappointment might have been team brass avoiding offensive line, meaning Chaz Green will be the RT next year.

One more note on Taco: Taco Bell is famous. Californians swear by Del Taco. And the Greenville Ave crowd in Big D frequents Taco Cabana at 2 AM when they're three sheets. For my money, give me the bean burritos at Taco Bueno.

CBS Sports: 9th

They had a nice draft on the defensive side, but they need those guys to make an impact right away. I just think they are taking a step back this time around.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Denver Broncos Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Denver Broncos rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 13th
  • Average score: 13.8
  • Best rank/site: 10th (ESPN/Fox)
  • Lowest rank/site: 21st (SI.com)

Based on where the Denver Broncos stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

ESPN: 10th

How good a job is coach Vance Joseph walking into? The next-highest-ranked team that changed coaches this offseason is ranked 25th. If Garett Bolles can start right away at left tackle, that's good news for Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Trevon Synch, Paxtor Lymian ... whoever their quarterback ends up being.

Fox Sports: 10th

The Broncos addressed their biggest need at left tackle with the 20th pick, taking Garett Bolles out of Utah. DeMarcus Walker seemed like a bit of a reach in the second round, but he’ll find snaps in Denver’s rotation at defensive end. Carlos Henderson is a shifty receiver who’s slippery after the catch, but wideout wasn’t a huge need for Denver. Their season will come down to the quarterback play of Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch.

NFL.com: 14th

The Broncos' draft was viable. Signing Jamaal Charles? Admirable. It seems the vast majority of folks in the football world have moved on from the former Kansas City phenom. But do we all have collective amnesia about the all-time leader in yards per carry among running backs with 1,000 or more attempts? His 5.5 career average can't be touched by Adrian Peterson. The beloved Barry Sanders falls a half-yard short (5.0). That robust mark even has the greatest of them all, Jim Brown, looking up at Charles. Yet, after nine years in the league and some knee injuries, people think he's done. We'll see. John Elway will kick the tires on any player who could help the team win. Add in the Ronald Leary signing and the drafting of Garett Bolles, and Denver's run game will provide much better support for whoever the young QB is in 2017.

CBS Sports: 14th

Who plays quarterback? That's the main question, and whether it's Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch, the second question is this: Are they good enough to push for a division title?

SI.com: 21st

​​​​Denver was the first team to dip into the offensive tackle pool at the draft and just signed longtime Broncos fan Jamaal Charles, so whichever QB wins the starti— wait, longtime Broncos fan Jamaal Charles? Actually, you know what, this makes sense, carry on.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Atlanta Falcons Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Atlanta Falcons rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 2nd
  • Average score: 2.2
  • Best rank/site: 2nd (Multiple)
  • Lowest rank/site: 3rd (SI.com)

Based on where the Atlanta Falcons stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

ESPN: 2nd

No truth to the rumor that the Falcons had a 25-spot lead with a day and a half to go and coughed it up. Too soon? Well, so was the Falcons' slow-down game plan in the second half of the Super Bowl. In all honesty, they should be fine, unless Kyle Shanahan's playcalling was the key to the whole thing.

NFL.com: 2nd

Enough with the Super Bowl LI talk. Does anyone piss on "Star Wars" because of "Attack of the Clones" and the really bad choice for Darth Vader's grandkid in "The Force Awakens"? No. Let's quit viewing the Falcons' 2016 campaign negatively just because of the bum ending. Those guys balled out, and this team hasn't gotten any worse. First-round pick Takkarist McKinley and free-agent signees Dontari Poe and Jack Crawford are going to help the front seven. Ditto third-round pick Duke Riley. And don't forget that five rookies made a huge impact last year (Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, Austin Hooper, De'Vondre Campbell and Brian Poole). The personnel department is on a hot streak. In Hotlanta. You're welcome.

CBS Sports: 2nd

We know the offense is going to be explosive again, but they've added some nice pieces to the defense. They will be even faster on that side of the ball.

Fox Sports: 2nd

The Falcons traded up to land Takk McKinley in the first round, a fiery, raw pass rusher out of UCLA. He may start the year on the PUP list, but in the second half of the season, expect Dan Quinn to unleash him opposite Vic Beasley. LB Duke Riley gives Atlanta even more speed on defense, too – a good selection in the third. They're among the best teams in the league.

SI.com: 3rd

​​​​Atlanta didn’t need to mess with much on the roster, but Dontari Poe and first-rounder Takk McKinley add stoutness and speed, respectively, to a defensive line that nearly made the difference in the Super Bowl. Kyle Shanahan’s departure is the big question mark, but you don’t have to go back very far to find a contender that won it all with two first-year coordinators: The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 the same year Rick Dennison and Wade Phillips were tabbed to replace Adam Gase and Jack Del Rio when they got head coaching gigs.​

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: New Orleans Saints Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the New Orleans Saints rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 21st
  • Average score: 20.6
  • Best rank/site: 13th (CBS)
  • Lowest rank/site: 24th (ESPN)

Based on where the New Orleans Saints stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

CBS Sports: 13th

They've had one of the best offseasons of any team in the league. They are ready to make a push again for a division title -- and more -- with Drew Brees getting help around him.

Fox Sports: 21st

Sean Payton and the Saints thought about trading for Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, but you can bet they’re happy they didn’t. Marshon Lattimore fell all the way to 11, filling the Saints’ biggest need with the top cornerback in the draft. OT Ryan Ramczyk and safety Marcus Williams also will be early starters, while RB Alvin Kamara is an ideal complement to the power of Adrian Peterson and Melvin Ingram. The Saints improved more than most teams this weekend.

SI.com: 22nd

​​​​If both stay healthy, first-rounder Marshon Lattimore and third-year pro Delvin Breaux could be New Orleans’s best cornerback tandem in a long time. Lattimore is physical enough to grow into a worthy adversary for divisional rivals like Julio Jones and Mike Evans, and Breaux has come a long way since this gif from two years ago.

NFL.com: 23rd

The Sean Payton-Mickey Loomis partnership has been at the grind for over 10 years now, but not so long that these two can't shift their approach. Look for the Saints to grind more games out in lieu of playing Arena Ball en route to another 7-9 record. Five of their seven picks were used on defense, with a first-round choice spent on offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk and a third-round slot spent on running back Alvin Kamara. The team dropped a little coin on Adrian Peterson, too. This is with Mark Ingram still in-house. No more chuck it 45 times and hope the defense gets one stop per half stuff ...

ESPN: 24th

No team treads water like the Saints. Did you know they've been 7-9 three years in a row and four of the past five? They're something like a non-team at this point, stuck here in Power Rankings purgatory without Brandin Cooks, without Malcolm Butler, without a pass rush and somehow with the husk of Adrian Peterson. And you wonder why coach Sean Payton seems to want out every year.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Arizona Cardinals Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Arizona Cardinals rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 16th
  • Average score: 16.0
  • Best rank/site: 10th (CBS)
  • Lowest rank/site: 18th (ESPN/Fox)

Based on where the Arizona Cardinals stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

CBS Sports: 10th

They were top-10 in offense and defense last year, which tells you they had talent. They've added some nice players as well, but this will be about Carson Palmer staying on the field and playing well.

NFL.com: 17th

Difficult to surmise who the Cardinals are in May. Are they the contenders we saw two seasons ago who played their worst game in January? Or the middling bunch that couldn't get out of its own way last year? The answer lies somewhere in between, but even after a relatively strong draft, the question is ... If the Cards can't overtake Seattle, will Arizona string enough wins together to grab a wild-card spot? The offense could've used a wideout, but I can't wait to see all-heart safety Budda Baker (Round 2) team with All-Pro Tyrann Mathieu and all-hit Deone Bucannon.

SI.com: 17th

​​​​By passing on a quarterback in the draft, Arizona is betting on Carson Palmer’s ability to age gracefully, although at 37 last year he posted his lowest yards per attempt (7.1) since 2012, his final season as a Raider. Speedy linebacker Haason Reddick and hyperactive safety Budda Baker are early-round coups for Arizona’s aggressive defense.​

ESPN: 18th

We did this a year ago. The Cardinals were No. 5, and I ranted about how crazy it was that they weren't higher. I was ... wrong. So while I like what they did on defense with their first couple of picks, prove to me that quarterback Carson Palmer has something left before I buy in again, please.

Fox Sports: 18th

Bruce Arians and the Cardinals didn’t add a cornerback with any of their early picks, which was a bit surprising and could wind up costing them down the line. They did, however, add two ball hawks in Haason Reddick and Budda Baker. They’re going to be a lot of fun to watch on defense this season with both expected to start in Week 1. They still need offensive line and cornerback help, though.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Pittsburgh Steelers Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Pittsburgh Steelers rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 4th (T-DAL)
  • Average score: 5.0
  • Best rank/site: 4th (Multiple)
  • Lowest rank/site: 6th (Multiple)

Based on where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

ESPN: 4th

The Steelers' biggest offseason addition might be a guy they already had. If Martavis Bryant can stay off suspension, the offense gets even more dynamic and next offseason's Ben Roethlisberger retirement hints become a little bit easier to handle.

NFL.com: 4th

Interesting draft for the Steelers, who look to return to the AFC Championship Game this year, but partially drafted for next. While T.J. Watt could contribute right away, according to our NFL.com scout Lance Zierlein, his lack of a powerful base could be problematic ... think about going against power-running teams. The debatable pick came in Round 2, when Pittsburgh took receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Certainly not a terrible pick, but with Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Le'Veon Bell (who will catch 60 balls as a running back) on the roster, Smith-Schuster will be the fourth option -- at best.

Putting the draft aside, the Steelers and the NFL lost a giant with Dan Rooney's passing. The Rooney family in general has stewarded this franchise with the utmost class and humility, something our current world -- at least in the U.S. -- is missing. There's no need for me to remind anyone of the Rooney Rule here, but I would be remiss if I wrote about this without acknowledging the passing of a wonderful human being.

Fox Sports: 5th

T.J. Watt fell into Pittsburgh’s lap at No. 30, filling a need at edge rusher. The Steelers' next pick was a bit questionable, though, adding another wide receiver in JuJu Smith-Schuster. He’s a physical receiver, but coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers are deeper than just about every team at that position. Cameron Sutton should contribute right away at cornerback, though, and running back James Conner is a nice complement for Le’Veon Bell.

CBS Sports: 6th

Getting pass rusher T.J. Watt in the first round will help a defense that needs more from the edge. With Ben Roethlisberger back -- was he really going anywhere? -- they will again be in the Super mix.

SI.com: 6th

​​​​With no major holes to fill, the Steelers paid Antonio Brown (four-year extension) and Le’Veon Bell (franchise tag), and Ben Roethlisberger put his nebulous retirement plans on hold. Their rookie class could provide the depth (at some positions they were already pretty strong in) to widen the gap in the AFC North, but will Pittsburgh’s Big Three ever all make it to January in one piece?​

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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May 12, 2017

2017 NFL Power Rankings: Cleveland Browns Post-Draft Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Cleveland Browns rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 32nd
  • Average score: 31.0
  • Best rank/site: 29th (CBS)
  • Lowest rank/site: 32nd (Multiple)

Based on where the Cleveland Browns stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

CBS Sports: 29th

I think they had a nice draft, adding a lot of talent, but it's all about second-round passer DeShone Kizer. If he's good, they might win six games.

NFL.com: 31st

Strange thing happened in Philly: Myles Garrett, that rare player who was almost universally considered the top talent in the draft, was barely discussed after his selection by the Browns with the first overall pick. He was the Andrew Luck of his year, the Earl Campbell -- the rich man's version of any player. And yet, it was like he was another ho-hum first-round choice. Garrett and the rest of Cleveland's Grade A draft haul (we grade these things, you see; very important) leave much room for optimism among the Brian Sipe faithful. What's more surprising than Garrett barely being celebrated or David Njoku being handed the keys to the tight end position shortly after being drafted? The Browns being up a spot in the Power Rankings.

Fox Sports: 31st

Don’t get me wrong, the Browns did a lot of good things in the draft. However, their roster is still one of the weakest in the NFL. DeShone Kizer isn’t going to start in Week 1, so they still have a question at quarterback. At least they added three Day 1 starters in Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku. They did improve in those three areas — defense, special teams and tight end — this weekend.

SI.com: 32nd

But just barely, and largely on the strength of not messing up the Myles Garrett pick at No. 1. Garrett and Swiss army knife Jabrill Peppers can fill a few different holes in the defense, but not nearly all of them. DeShone Kizer taking in the entire 2017 campaign from the sidelines would be the Browns’ best-case scenario, and in cutting ties with Gary Barnidge they’re showing faith in David Njoku’s NFL readiness that many draft analysts don’t share.​​​​​

ESPN: 32nd

When you can triple your previous season's win total and still have a good shot at the No. 1 overall pick, you're in a ... good spot? Not sure, but the Browns got three fun players in the first round of the draft and somehow kept Jamie Collins from leaving in free agency. I say give Brock Osweiler a shot, but they probably won't.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings: Cincinnati Bengals Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Cincinnati Bengals rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 23rd
  • Average score: 22.4
  • Best rank/site: 15th (CBS)
  • Lowest rank/site: 26th (SI.com)

Based on where the Cincinnati Bengals stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

CBS Sports: 15th

They had a really good draft, adding a lot of talented players, some with risk, but they could pay off big. If that happens, they could be a playoff team again.

ESPN: 23rd

Really? Way down here at No. 23? I mean, I guess the offensive line is an issue minus Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth. But it's easy to forget that this team made the playoffs five years in a row before last season's crater, and the crater could well turn out to be an aberration.

Fox Sports: 23rd

After adding an offensive playmaker in receiver John Ross (pictured), the Bengals took a chance on controversial running back Joe Mixon. Right or not, the Bengals got significantly better on offense with those two players, and they should spark a unit that was lackluster in 2016. Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson were steals in the third and fourth rounds, helping the pass rush. Still, the Bengals aren’t a complete team and aren’t expected to be a Super Bowl contender next season.

NFL.com: 25th

Consider the Bengals' top picks high-risk/high-reward, if not exactly filling team needs. First-round pick John Ross can run faster than sponsors from Fox News. Joe Mixon is arguably as talented as any running back in the draft, but he obviously arrives with his own unique set of issues. The real question worth asking here is, what about the offensive line? Granted, where Cincy picked in the second round (48th overall) was not conducive to getting a top-notch guy, especially after the Chargers took Forrest Lamp 38th overall. But for a group that didn't perform too well last year, losing Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth and almost-Pro Bowler Kevin Zeitler to free agency calls for some movement on Day 1 or 2, no? Bengals fans?

SI.com: 26th

​​​​After playing the Redskins to a draw in London in Week 8, the Bengals lost five games by five points or less down the stretch. That likely informed the back-to-back selections of the best playmaker available in John Ross and Joe Mixon with Cincy’s first two draft picks. Maybe there was a push from above to give the offense under Andy Dalton one more jolt before patience runs out with Marvin Lewis, who has only posted back-to-back losing seasons once in 14 years as Bengals coach.​

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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May 10, 2017

Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings: Baltimore Ravens Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Baltimore Ravens rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 20th
  • Average score: 20.2
  • Best rank/site: 16th (ESPN)
  • Lowest rank/site: 24th (SI.com)

Based on where the Baltimore Ravens stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

ESPN: 16th

Baltimore is another team that used its first four picks on defense. Which is fine, when you have to play the Steelers twice a season. But man, are they seeing something in this wide receiver corps that the rest of us aren't? Like, for instance, wide receivers?

CBS Sports: 20th

Have they done enough to get back into the playoffs? I'm not sure they have, but they did add some good players in the draft.

Fox Sports: 20th

Defense, defense, defense. That was the motto of the first two days of Baltimore’s draft, bringing in four players who could potentially start as rookies. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey addresses Baltimore’s biggest need, while Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams provide explosiveness and athleticism off the edge as outside linebackers. Chris Wormley has a high ceiling as a defensive end in a 3-4, too, so he’s a perfect fit. John Harbaugh still needs help at wide receiver, which is a big knock on this class.

NFL.com: 21st

A rejiggering of the teams leaves Baltimore as the odd squad out, sliding a few rungs down. The drop is more a reflection of what the Eagles and Colts did in the draft as opposed to what the Ravens didn't do. That said, the criticism for not taking a wideout is fair. Losing Kamar Aiken to free agency and Steve Smith Sr. to retirement leaves the passing game in the hands of Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman. Which means that Danny Woodhead will catch approximately 180 balls. Not all is negative, as 11-22 on these rankings is awfully tight. As was the Chris Wormley pick. He's going to help right away.

SI.com: 24th

​​​​The inches by which Antonio Brown broke the plane of the goal line on Christmas night turned a season of contention into a misleading three-game gap between Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the final standings. The Ravens had been creeping toward the bottom third of the league in sacks over the past few years, and Day 2 picks Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams can help turn that trend around immediately off the edge.​

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings: New England Patriots Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the New England Patriots rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 1st
  • Average score: 1.0
  • Best rank/site: 1st (Unanimous)
  • Lowest rank/site: 1st (Unanimous)

Based on where the New England Patriots stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

SI.com: 1st

​​​The defending champs were so aggressive addressing both sides of the ball this spring it felt like they were sending a message. In burning their first-round pick to get Brandon Cooks from the Saints, the Pats continued to make their style of play ever harder to duplicate: Cooks is 5' 10", just like New England’s top two 2016 receptions leaders Julian Edelman and James White. ​

ESPN: 1st

Unchanged at the top, where the champions of January and February also emerged as the champions of March and April. No months off! No months off! New England's aggressive trade and free-agency approach was that of a team determined to win as many Tom Brady titles as it can while it can.

NFL.com: 1st

Loved loved loved the Patriots' draft. Yes, I know they barely drafted anyone. Who cares? They used their picks as capital to acquire more victories. At the end of the day, that is all the draft's about. What use is there in developing players if they don't contribute to success or leave via free agency? New England has the nucleus of a Super Bowl winning team intact. No reason to think too far ahead when the Pats are the best team in the league, the starting quarterback turns 40 in August and a window exists now to win another Lombardi (or two). Thus, no issues here for spending a draft pick to acquire Brandin Cooks ... or Kony Ealy ... or Dwayne Allen ... or Mike Gillislee. All good moves in my book.

CBS Sports: 1st

They've actually improved in the offseason, which is downright scary for the rest of the league. As long as Tom Brady is upright, they are the clear favorites again.

Fox Sports: 1st

Bill Belichick and the Patriots had one of the quietest drafts of any team, but that won’t be enough to bump them from the top spot. Their top draft picks essentially were Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen, which is a nice haul in retrospect. They also added DE Derek Rivers in the third round and DE Deatrich Wise, providing Matt Patricia with more pass rushers to unleash.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings: New York Jets Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the New York Jets rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 31st
  • Average score: 30.6
  • Best rank/site: 27th (SI.com)
  • Lowest rank/site: 32nd (Multiple)

Based on where the New York Jets stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

SI.com: 27th

This feels high, right? For the forward-thinking Jets fan, the most frustrating part of handing the starting quarterback job to Josh McCown may be that it ensures New York won’t be the worst team in the league this year. Jordan Leggett, ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen are intriguing rookie targets for whoever is under center, but the Jets didn’t lack for speedy receivers even before Devin Smith tore his ACL.​​​

ESPN: 30th

Jamal Adams should be a great player. He is not, however, a quarterback. The Jets are forever the Jets, the rare team that finds itself (A) rebuilding and (B) with its coach and general manager somehow on the hot seat at the same time. Maybe owner Woody Johnson will bring some nice Tower of London souvenirs back.

NFL.com: 32nd

People are speculating that the Jets have the most talent-resistant roster in the league. Well, this team doesn't resist talent, but it did avoid the quarterback auction going on Thursday night. And for that, the Jets deserve precisely zero criticism. What was the point of taking Bryce Petty in 2015 or rolling the dice on Christian Hackenberg in the second round last year if neither quarterback was going to get the opportunity to play? Draft the best players available, sink or swim with the pups under center and go get 'em next year when you can stockpile even more talent. Now, going S-S-WR-WR was a bit gnarly, but I love the Jamal Adams hire.

CBS Sports: 32nd

They made some interesting picks in the draft, but it's all about quarterback. And that's a problem with this team, which is why they are down here at the bottom.

Fox Sports: 32nd

Put simply, the Jets are going to be competing for the first overall pick next year. Jamal Adams was a great selection, and Marcus Maye will contribute at the other safety spot, but that wasn’t New York’s biggest issue. The offensive line, quarterback and cornerbacks were their biggest needs, and they did little to address them. It was a questionable draft for the Jets – again.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings: Miami Dolphins Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Miami Dolphins rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 12th
  • Average score: 12.0
  • Best rank/site: 10th (SI.com)
  • Lowest rank/site: 14th (Fox Sports)

Based on where the Miami Dolphins stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

SI.com: 10th

​Miami was the last team in the draft to spend a pick on an offensive player (athletic guard Isaac Asiata went No. 164), a sign that the organization believes the midseason run Ryan Tannehill was on before his left knee injury (69.1% completion rate, 13 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 7–1 record—with a big, big assist from Jay Ajayi) was a glimpse of something sustainable under the direction of Adam Gase.​

NFL.com: 11th

The Dolphins' draft went under the radar compared to those of other playoff teams, despite a solid effort from the personnel department. In fact, I didn't address them in the "Best and most worrisome picks," the Odyssey-length manifesto I posted after Day 3 wrapped. First-round pick Charles Harris should be able to play with his hand in the dirt, helping Miami forget the Mario Williams experiment (rather, debacle) and the Dion Jordan pick several years ago. Second-rounder Raekwon McMillan further bolsters the linebacking crew, which suddenly appears to be a strength. Perhaps most important is what my buddy Marc Sessler said to me in the newsroom: "Adam Gase gives that team hope. They were D.O.A. when he got there." Agreed. Don't be surprised if Miami gets a do-over in Pittsburgh after January's playoff defeat.

CBS Sports: 12th

They are doing a nice job building this roster, having a nice draft to go with their free-agency moves. They are clearly the second-best team in the AFC East.

ESPN: 13th

Last season was big for the Dolphins, as first-year coach Adam Gase seemed to figure out how to minimize Ryan Tannehill's weaknesses. They added some important pieces at linebacker to solidify the defense. But it all comes down to the offensive line, and there has been some shuffling there. We'll see how it all comes together.

Fox Sports: 14th

I really like what the Dolphins did. Charles Harris is a Day 1 starter at defensive end, while Raekwon McMillan will fill holes at linebacker next to Kiko Alonso. He loves to play downhill and hit ball carriers, allowing Alonso to play weak-side linebacker. Add in CB Cordrea Tankersley, a third-round pick, and Adam Gase and the Dolphins did a ton to improve their defense as a whole.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings: Buffalo Bills Power Rankings Roundup

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

In addition to gathering data on a league-wide basis, we will post individual team roundups so fans of teams can see where their team stacks up and what the national media is writing about them.

With that said, here is where the Buffalo Bills rank in the post-draft edition of our Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

  • Rank: 26th
  • Average score: 24.6
  • Best rank/site: 19th (SI.com)
  • Lowest rank/site: 27th (NFL.com)

Based on where the Buffalo Bills stand in this update, here is a roundup from the sources that are included in our consensus power rankings (sorted by best ranking to worst ranking):

SI.com: 19th

The Bills may very well be a mess, but with a strong draft in the books, Tyrod Taylor under center and new coach Sean McDermott calling the shots—both on the field and up and down the roster, at least until the team finds a replacement for ex-GM Doug Whaley—they could easily be a 9–7, playoff-contending mess. There are wins to be had on that schedule before December, when Buffalo crams in two games each against the Patriots and Dolphins.​

Fox Sports: 25th

The Bills didn’t waste any time addressing their biggest needs at cornerback and receiver, taking Tre’Davious White and Zay Jones with their first two picks. They then added guard Dion Dawkins, who can compete inside or at right tackle. As a whole, the Bills got much better for new coach Sean McDermott, but questions still remain at quarterback with Tyrod Taylor.

ESPN: 26th

New head coach run! Sean McDermott has consolidated power in a very short time. And he came out of the first two rounds with a new cornerback, a new wide receiver and one of the draft's top guards. Buffalo likes both of its lines, and if quarterback Tyrod Taylor is reliable, the Bills could surprise. One of these years, they'll surprise. Right?

CBS Sports: 26th

New coach Sean McDermott is clearly running things with general manager Doug Whaley out. They had a solid draft, but they are the third team in the division.

NFL.com: 27th

Timing is a strange thing. It derives from the word "time," which is completely man-made. Our thoughts are comprised of quantum waves, which are not bound by our interpretation of time. Yet, considering we do live in a 24-hour day with weeks and months tabulated, and football teams are run by people, then it is completely in-bounds to say letting GM Doug Whaley go now was odd timing, at best. The argument for firing him at this juncture would be that the draft really finishes the year-long cycle for the personnel department. On the other hand, why not do it on Black Monday, closer to when previous coach Rex Ryan was let go? Why have Whaley be involved in the hiring of new coach Sean McDermott? All that said, the firing wasn't nearly as surprising as the timing. By the way ... I like the Nathan Peterman pick.

- View full consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings

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May 08, 2017

2017 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots Unanimous Top Team in Post-Draft Consensus Power Rankings

With the 2017 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for NFL teams to turn their full attention to getting ready for the upcoming season.

In previous seasons, we have published our own version of NFL Power Rankings.

Starting in 2017, we’ve decided to post a weekly consensus NFL Power Rankings throughout the season. Even though the media is far from perfect in ranking teams, the goal of aggregating power rankings from various sites is to arrive at a consensus outlook for teams.

Considering most sites have published a post-draft update to their power rankings, we figured now would be a great time to begin posting the consensus rankings.

Below are the post-draft Consensus 2017 NFL Power Rankings:

RankTeamRecordLastChg.Avg.ESPNNFLSICBSFox
1New England Patriots0-0--111111
2Atlanta Falcons0-0--2.222322
3Green Bay Packers0-0--4.435437
4Pittsburgh Steelers0-0--544665
4Dallas Cowboys0-0--556293
6Oakland Raiders0-0--5.673576
7New York Giants0-0--7.297758
8Seattle Seahawks0-0--7.46101344
9Kansas City Chiefs0-0--9.68881113
10Tampa Bay Buccaneers0-0--10.814912811
11Tennessee Titans0-0--11.612129169
12Miami Dolphins0-0--121311101214
13Denver Broncos0-0--13.81014211410
14Houston Texans0-0--151116152112
15Detroit Lions0-0--15.61513112415
16Arizona Cardinals0-0--161817171018
17Washington Redskins0-0--172015161816
18Carolina Panthers0-0--18.41719201719
18Indianapolis Colts0-0--18.41920142217
20Baltimore Ravens0-0--20.21621242020
21New Orleans Saints0-0--20.62423221321
22Minnesota Vikings0-0--21.22122182322
23Cincinnati Bengals0-0--22.42325261523
24Philadelphia Eagles0-0--22.82218252524
25Los Angeles Chargers0-0--23.62524231927
26Buffalo Bills0-0--24.62627192625
27Jacksonville Jaguars0-0--26.82726282726
28Los Angeles Rams0-0--28.62828292830
29Chicago Bears0-0--29.62929313029
30San Francisco 49ers0-0--303130303128
31New York Jets0-0--30.63032273232
32Cleveland Browns0-0--313231322931
Sources: ESPN, NFL.com, SI.com, CBS Sports and Fox Sports.

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April 26, 2017

2017 NFL Mock Draft (Final version): Browns trade up for Mitchell Trubisky

The long wait is almost over. We are now less than 24 hours away from the start of the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Without further ado, here is my 2017 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

Mock drafts are hard, but this pick is easy. As Sean Beazley noted in his mock draft, "[e]ven the Browns can’t screw up this pick."

With a rare blend of length, burst and freakish athleticism, Garrett has all of the tools to develop into a perenniel All-Pro pass-rusher. Even though rookie Emmanuel Ogbah led the team in sacks last year, only the Raiders (25) recorded fewer sacks than the Browns (26) in 2016.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Ideally, the 49ers would like to trade out of this spot and accumulate more draft capital. Assuming they are unable to move down, it's unclear who will be the first-ever draft pick in the John Lynch era, but I think the choice comes down to Adams or Stanford's Solomon Thomas. Perhaps the former safety sees a bit of himself in Adams, a defensive tone-setter and a great leader by all accounts.

3. Chicago Bears (Draft History): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

In most previous updates of my mock, I've slotted Thomas to the 49ers (and Adams to the Bears). I think Marshon Lattimore is in play here, but Thomas gives Fox and Fangio a versatile lineman with outstanding strength and quickness and a non-stop motor.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

Despite rumors of a quarterback possibly in play here, this decision comes down to Fournette or Alabama's Jonathan Allen, for me. If teams are concerned about Allen's shoulders, it's possible he slides beyond this point. That said, their defense isn't the problem. Finishing sixth in total defense in 2016, they added premier defensive free agents in Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye last month.

While the defense hasn't been the problem, Blake Bortles certainly regressed in his third season. One way to help him is to add a back like Fournette. Given his unique combination of size, power and speed, Fournette is built to be a workhorse back that will wear down opposing defenses and helps to change the team's identity into a run-first team that plays great defense.

(Projected trade: Browns/Titans)

5. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

Since professional football returned in 1999, the Browns have had 26 starting quarterbacks. At this point, it appears the Browns could move up for their 27th -- even if he isn't the Week 1 starter.

The biggest knock on Trubisky is his lack of experience as a starter (only one season). Possessing a strong arm and mobility, however, Trubisky completed 68.2 percent of his pass attempts with 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2016 including a 17-to-none TD-INT ratio in the red zone.

6. New York Jets (Draft History): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

There's a good chance that Lattimore is off the board at this point, especially if the Titans don't move back, but he'd be a perfect fit for the Jets. Lattimore displayed his elite athleticism (4.36 forty and 38.5-inch vertical) at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine prior to tweaking his hamstring. His history of hamstring injuries is a potential concern, but he is extremely fluid with the cover skills to develop into a true shutdown corner.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (Draft History): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Drawing comparisons to Ed Reed, Hooker is a ball-hawking free safety with tremendous range that finished his only season as a starter with seven interceptions, three of which he returned for scores.

8. Carolina Panthers (Draft History): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

The last time Jonathan Stewart did not miss at least three games in a season was 2011. Not only did Stewart recently turn 30, but he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry last season. McCaffrey may not be ideally suited to be a workhorse at 202 pounds, but he's as versatile as they come and especially gifted as a receiver and returner.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Draft History): Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

Better than the ninth-overall prospect in this year's draft, the Bengals would be getting a nice value if Allen slips to this point and they are comfortable with his shoulders. Allen would give the Bengals a highly disruptive, productive and run-dominant defensive lineman with the versatility to play multiple spots along the line.

10. Buffalo Bills (Draft History): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Especially given the durability track record of receiver Sammy Watkins, adding pass-catching reinforcements would make sense. With all wide receivers still on the board, perhaps they add Mike Williams or Corey Davis here. That said, Howard is a complete tight end that excels as a blocker while also possessing elite physical tools (4.51 forty at 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds) to create mismatches in the passing game.

11. New Orleans Saints (Draft History): Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Given his failed/diluted drug test at the combine, however, it's likely that Foster at least slips outside of the top 10. While Foster begins his NFL career in the league's drug program, reports are that he has never failed a drug test at Alabama. The Butkus Award winner, Foster is a devastating hitter with sideline-to-sideline range that I've heard ESPN's Louis Riddick dubbed a "shutdown linebacker." Meanwhile, Greg Cosell compared him to Patrick Willis.

(Projected trade: Browns/Titans)

12. Tennessee Titans (Draft History): Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

Upgrading the secondary was a major need for the Titans and their two biggest free-agent signings (cornerback Logan Ryan and safety John Cyprien) will help to bolster the unit. With the team releasing Jason McCourty this month, however, they will go into the season with two new starters -- Ryan and Humphrey -- based on this mock.

13. Arizona Cardinals (Draft History): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Possessing the size (6-4, 220) and physicality to overpower defensive backs, Williams isn't the fastest receiver, but he's fast enough. Bouncing back from his 2015 neck injury, the Clemson wideout finished 2016 with 98/1,361/11 and has the talent to develop into a true No. 1 receiver at the next level.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (Draft History), via MIN: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

While he may lack the elite burst of some other pass-rushers in this class, Barnett's production is unparalelled as no player had more sacks over the past three seasons combined. In fact, Barnett broke Reggie White's all-time sack record at Tennessee despite playing only three seasons and the junior edge rusher became the first player in SEC history to record double-digit sacks in three different (consecutive) seasons.

15. Indianapolis Colts (Draft History): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

A three-down linebacker prospect with tremendous speed and range, Reddick began his Temple career as a walk-on defensive back and has played a variety of roles for the Owls. As an undersized defensive end last year, Reddick finished with 22.5 tackles for loss, third-most in college football, and a team-high 10.5 sacks. Few prospects, if any, improved their draft stock since the end of the college football season as much as Reddick has.

16. Baltimore Ravens (Draft History): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Both Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman have elite speed as vertical receivers, but Davis has the talent to develop into a true No. 1 receiver for the Ravens. On NFL Network on Wednesday night, ex-Raven Steve Smith compared Davis to Terrell Owens and I think Davis is the best receiver prospect in this year's draft class.

In each of his past three seasons, Davis has dominated lesser competition with 1,400-plus yards and 12-plus touchdowns. The senior receiver has excellent size (6-3, 213), speed, hands and is an outstanding route-runner. Assuming Davis is selected here (or somewhere in Round 1), he will join Randy Moss as the second MAC wide receiver to be selected in the first round.

- Continue to picks 17-32 in our 2017 NFL Mock Draft

- For more 2017 NFL mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database

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April 23, 2017

2017 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2017 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2017 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2016) for every team's set of 2017 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2017 opponents allowed in 2016.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.


Here are the 2017 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule Rankings:

RankTeamPlayer(s)Cumulative PointsFantasy Playoffs
1Minnesota VikingsStefon Diggs24.1571.45
2Carolina PanthersKelvin Benjamin24.0371.82
3Chicago BearsKevin White2467.23
4Seattle SeahawksDoug Baldwin23.967.31
5New Orleans SaintsMichael Thomas23.7971.2
6Tampa Bay BuccaneersMike Evans23.6673.01
7Atlanta FalconsJulio Jones23.5673.03
8Arizona CardinalsLarry Fitzgerald23.4469.33
9San Francisco 49ersPierre Garcon23.3166.47
10New York GiantsOdell Beckham23.0773.03
11Detroit LionsGolden Tate22.9866.82
12Dallas CowboysDez Bryant22.9566.14
13Los Angeles RamsTavon Austin22.9275.58
14Houston TexansDeAndre Hopkins22.8764.12
15Baltimore RavensMike Wallace22.6665.91
16Green Bay PackersJordy Nelson22.6368.05
16Washington RedskinsJamison Crowder22.6359.75
18Pittsburgh SteelersAntonio Brown22.6264.51
19Jacksonville JaguarsAllen Robinson22.5767.25
20Miami DolphinsJarvis Landry22.565.37
21New York JetsEric Decker22.4959.54
22Tennessee TitansRishard Matthews22.4575.16
23Denver BroncosDemaryius Thomas22.2868.11
24Cleveland BrownsCorey Coleman22.2777.86
25New England PatriotsJulian Edelman22.2365.85
26Cincinnati BengalsA.J. Green22.1868.63
27Indianapolis ColtsT.Y. Hilton22.1359.49
28Buffalo BillsSammy Watkins22.0968.52
28Philadelphia EaglesAlshon Jeffery22.0964.7
30Oakland RaidersAmari Cooper21.7971.17
31Los Angeles ChargersKeenan Allen21.5568.57
32Kansas City ChiefsJeremy Maclin21.5269.65

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

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2017 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2017 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2017 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2016) for every team's set of 2017 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2017 opponents allowed in 2016.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.


Here are the Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule Rankings for 2017:

RankTeamPlayer(s)Cumulative PointsFantasy Playoffs
1New England PatriotsDion Lewis, Rex Burkhead19.4660.52
2New York JetsMatt Forte19.3661.45
3Carolina PanthersJonathan Stewart19.152.11
4Tennessee TitansDeMarco Murray19.0359.65
5Jacksonville JaguarsChris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon18.8959.83
6Chicago BearsJordan Howard18.7857.71
7Baltimore RavensKenneth Dixon, Danny Woodhead18.6965.49
8Cincinnati BengalsJeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard18.6648.18
9Seattle SeahawksEddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls18.6349.3
10Buffalo BillsLeSean McCoy18.653.53
10Dallas CowboysEzekiel Elliott18.650.58
12Denver BroncosC.J. Anderson18.5961
13Kansas City ChiefsSpencer Ware18.5758.85
14Arizona CardinalsDavid Johnson18.5551.08
14Minnesota VikingsLatavius Murray18.5550.71
16Philadelphia EaglesRyan Mathews, Darren Sproles18.3255.9
17Los Angeles ChargersMelvin Gordon18.357.95
18Indianapolis ColtsFrank Gore18.2556.23
18Miami DolphinsJay Ajayi18.2553.98
20New York GiantsPaul Perkins18.0445.28
21Houston TexansLamar Miller17.9665.1
21New Orleans SaintsMark Ingram17.9659.67
23Detroit LionsAmeer Abdullah, Theo Riddick17.8954.61
24Atlanta FalconsDevonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman17.8264.58
24Green Bay PackersTy Montgomery17.8255.27
26Washington RedskinsRobert Kelley17.8153.34
27Oakland RaidersDeAndre Washington17.6148.81
28Cleveland BrownsIsaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson17.5149.53
29Tampa Bay BuccaneersDoug Martin, Charles Sims17.4952.03
30Los Angeles RamsTodd Gurley17.4445.92
31Pittsburgh SteelersLe'Veon Bell17.2747.79
32San Francisco 49ersCarlos Hyde16.4348.7

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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April 22, 2017

2017 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2017 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2017 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2016) for every team's set of 2017 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2017 opponents allowed in 2016.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.


Here are the best Fantasy Football Strength of Schedules for quarterbacks in 2017:

RankTeamPlayerCumulative PointsFantasy Playoffs
1Minnesota VikingsSam Bradford17.3350.1
2New Orleans SaintsDrew Brees17.1154.51
3Chicago BearsMike Glennon17.0554.26
3Carolina PanthersCam Newton17.0548.93
5Baltimore RavensJoe Flacco16.9451.84
6Tampa Bay BuccaneersJameis Winston16.8954.21
7Atlanta FalconsMatt Ryan16.8452.85
8New York JetsJosh McCown16.6846.67
9Green Bay PackersAaron Rodgers16.6150.78
10Buffalo BillsTyrod Taylor16.5851.96
11Seattle SeahawksRussell Wilson16.5149.52
12Pittsburgh SteelersBen Roethlisberger16.4745.08
13Miami DolphinsRyan Tannehill16.4146.93
14New England PatriotsTom Brady16.3949.18
15Cincinnati BengalsAndy Dalton16.3850.89
15Detroit LionsMatthew Stafford16.3849.18
15Houston TexansTom Savage16.3846.39
18Denver BroncosTrevor Siemian16.3651.38
19Arizona CardinalsCarson Palmer16.3347.95
20Jacksonville JaguarsBlake Bortles16.3144.75
21Cleveland BrownsCody Kessler16.350.23
22Tennessee TitansMarcus Mariota16.2949.89
23New York GiantsEli Manning16.1648.34
24Indianapolis ColtsAndrew Luck15.9343.52
25San Francisco 49ersBrian Hoyer15.9247.55
26Kansas City ChiefsAlex Smith15.8252.2
26Los Angeles RamsJared Goff15.8248.41
28Dallas CowboysDak Prescott15.7944.74
29Los Angeles ChargersPhilip Rivers15.7849.2
30Washington RedskinsKirk Cousins15.7744.3
31Oakland RaidersDerek Carr15.6547.95
32Philadelphia EaglesCarson Wentz15.5746.54

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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April 21, 2017

2017 NFL Mock Draft: Myles Garrett, Mitchell Trubisky to Browns

The countdown is on.

Instead of months or even weeks, we are now just days away from the start of the 2017 NFL Draft in the City of Brotherly Love. A high volume of rumors will surface between now and draft day, so for many, the 2017 NFL Draft can't come too soon.

Please note that there will be at least one additional update of this mock draft, no later than the Wednesday night preceding the draft.

For now, however, here is my updated 2017 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

No position in sports, not just football, is more important than quarterback and the Browns lack of success in finding their franchise quarterback has been well-documented. Even though the Browns used a third-round pick on Cody Kessler in last year's draft, the quarterback position remains unsettled for the long term.

With so many other holes on the roster, Garrett appears to be a lock here despite reports the Browns may consider UNC's Mitchell Trubisky at No. 1 as well. Fortunately for the Browns, their five top-65 selections gives them the draft-day ammunition and flexibility to address the need.

Only the Raiders (25) recorded fewer sacks than the Browns (26) last season, but Emmanuel Ogbah, one of the team's 2016 second-round picks, led the team with 5.5 last year. Racking up 31 sacks in 34 career games, Garrett has the length, burst and freakish athleticism to make an immediate impact with the potential to develop into a perenniel All-Pro pass-rusher to pair with Ogbah.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

“There’s the traditional trade chart, (and) we’ve got one of our own,” [GM John] Lynch said. “I think we know how we value that (pick). As I’ve said, we’re open for business. We’d listen to anything. But, I’ve always said you don’t like being 2-14, but you like having the second pick. I think it puts you in the driver’s seat with a lot of options at your disposal and we’ll explore every single one of them.”

If the 49ers stay put and are unable to find a trade partner to move back, this pick likely comes down to Thomas or one of the top-three defensive backs -- safeties Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker and cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Considering the potential for Kirk Cousins to call the Bay area his home this time next year, I wouldn't expect the the 49ers to use a top-two pick on a quarterback even though they currently go into the season with backup-caliber quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley atop the depth chart.

Even though the 49ers (albeit Trent Baalke) have selected defensive linemen with back-to-back first-round picks in 2015 (Arik Armstead) and 2016 (DeForest Buckner), they aren't exactly ideal fits in the team's new defensive scheme. Meanwhile, Thomas has outstanding quickness and strength and a tireless motor that warrants a selection this high in the 2017 draft.

3. Chicago Bears (Draft History): Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

Signing Mike Glennon this offseason means the Bears should target the defensive side of the ball with this selection. Perhaps the Bears will select one of the top three defensive backs here (I had Jamal Adams mocked here in the previous version of my mock), but Allen would be a good fit provided the medical staff is comfortable with his shoulders. The SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Allen closed his collegiate career with back-to-back seasons of double-digit sacks and will help shore up Chicago's 27th-ranked run defense.

MORE: Bears select a QB in my way-too-early 2018 NFL Mock Draft

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

Going eighth overall to the Panthers in previous versions of this mock, Fournette may not last that long. Likely the first team to take a serious look at selecting Fournette (despite reports the 49ers could select him at No. 2), the Jaguars have built upon their strong defense (sixth in total defense in 2016) by adding Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye in free agency.

Despite universal expectations that the Jags would take a step (or two) forward in 2016, they instead took a step backwards as the play of quarterback Blake Bortles regressed. In addition, Jacksonville ranked only 27th in the NFL in rushing offense (92.1 yards per game).

Adding a back with Fournette's combination of size, power and speed would take some pressure off Bortles. And Fournette is built to be a workhorse back that will wear down opposing defenses as the game progresses.

5. Tennessee Titans (Draft History), via Rams: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

Upgrading the secondary was a major need for the Titans and their two biggest free-agent signings (cornerback Logan Ryan and safety John Cyprien) will help to bolster the unit. With the team releasing Jason McCourty this month, they will go into the season with two new starters -- Ryan and Lattimore -- based on this mock.

At the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, Lattimore displayed his elite athleticism (4.36 forty and 38.5-inch vertical) prior to tweaking his hamstring. His history of hamstring injuries is a potential concern, but he is extremely fluid with the cover skills to develop into a true shutdown corner.

6. New York Jets (Draft History): Jamal Adams, S, LSU

In the previous version of this mock, I had the Jets selecting UNC quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the Tar Heel or another quarterback could certainly be in play here. Using (read: wasting) a second-round pick on Christian Hackenberg last season, however, the Jets may decide to wait until 2018 to add another early-round quarterback in a year where the talent is widely expected to be better (depending on which quarterbacks declare early).

Recently running a sub-4.4 forty at LSU's Pro Day, Adams has a first-round pedigree (father George was a first-round pick in 1984), the versatility to play either safety spot and is a defensive tone-setter. In fact, NFL.com's Bucky Brooks went so far recently to call Adams "the best prospect in the draft."

7. Los Angeles Chargers (Draft History): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Once again, I have the Chargers selecting Hooker and if he's still on the board here, it's hard to imagine him the Bolts passing on him. Drawing comparisons to Ed Reed, Hooker is a ball-hawking free safety with tremendous range that finished his only season as a starter with seven interceptions, three of which he returned for scores.

8. Carolina Panthers (Draft History): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

If Leonard Fournette were available here, I think he'd be the pick -- and he was in the previous version of this mock -- as Jonathan Stewart recently turned 30 and has missed three-plus games in each of the past five seasons. If Fournette is off the board, I'm not sure that they add Christian McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook here.

The Panthers could use more dynamic pass-catchers. A top-10 prospect, Howard is a complete tight end that excels as a blocker while also possessing elite physical tools (4.51 forty at 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds) to create mismatches in the passing game. Howard had just two 100-yard games at Alabama, coincidentally both coming in the past two national championship games, but he should be much more productive in the NFL than he was in college.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Draft History): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Carlos Dunlap had 8.0 sacks (and defensive tackle Geno Atkins had 9.0), but the Bengals could use an upgrade opposite Dunlap as 30-year-old Michael Johnson had 3.5 sacks and graded out as PFF's 105th edge rusher (out of 109 qualified players).

While he may lack the elite burst of some other pass-rushers in this class, Barnett's production is unparalelled as no player had more sacks over the past three seasons combined. In fact, Barnett broke Reggie White's all-time sack record at Tennessee despite playing only three seasons and the junior edge rusher became the first player in SEC history to record double-digit sacks in three different (consecutive) seasons.

10. Buffalo Bills (Draft History): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Before the start of free agency, there was rampant speculation that the Bills would part ways with Tyrod Taylor -- and many mocks, including mine, had the Bills selecting a quarterback in this slot. With all of the quarterback prospects still on the board, it's possible that the Bills select one of them here, but adding pass-catching reinforcements would make sense especially given the durability track record of receiver Sammy Watkins.

Possessing the size (6-4, 220) and physicality to overpower defensive backs, Williams isn't the fastest receiver, but he's fast enough. Bouncing back from his 2015 neck injury, the Clemson wideout finished 2016 with 98/1,361/11 and has the talent to develop into a true No. 1 receiver at the next level.

11. New Orleans Saints (Draft History): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

A three-down linebacker prospect with tremendous speed and range, Reddick began his Temple career as a walk-on defensive back and has played a variety of roles for the Owls. As an undersized defensive end last year, Reddick finished with 22.5 tackles for loss, third-most in college football, and a team-high 10.5 sacks. Few prospects, if any, improved their draft stock since the end of the college football season as much as Reddick has.

12. Cleveland Browns (Draft History), via Eagles: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

Since professional football returned in 1999, three quarterbacks have had double-digit wins during their time in Cleveland: Tim Couch (22), Derek Anderson (16) and Brian Hoyer (10). Out of that group, only Hoyer (10-6) has a winning record as a starter. Meanwhile, 26 of them have a QB loss.

It's possible that Trubisky doesn't last this long in the draft. Specifically, the Jets at No. 6 and Bills at No. 10 would be the two most-likely teams to select him. Then again, it's possible that the Browns trade up to get in front of the Jets to select Trubisky.

The biggest knock on Trubisky is his relative lack of experience as a starter (only one season), but he could at least enter the 2017 season as the backup to McCown in this scenario. Possessing a strong arm and mobility, Trubisky completed 68.2 percent of his pass attempts with 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2016.

13. Arizona Cardinals (Draft History): Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

The Cardinals are fortunate to have cornerback Patrick Peterson, but that means teams will heavily target the other cornerback. And for the most part, that has been met with plenty of success.

If college teammate Lattimore tops the cornerback draft class, you could argue that Conley is the second best in this deep and talented group. With good length (6-0 with 33-inch arms) and athleticism (4.44 forty and 37-inch vertical), Conley has started every game over the past two seasons and intercepted four passes in 2016.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (Draft History), via MIN: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

If the Cardinals went in a different direction than Conley, I would expect him to be the pick here and he's been slotted in this spot in many of my previous editions of this mock. With both Lattimore and Conley off the board, perhaps the Eagles will go in a different direction here and target a corner in Round 2.

Breaking Barry Sanders record for all-purpose yards in college football back in 2015, McCaffrey may not be ideally suited to be a workhorse at 202 pounds, but he's as versatile as they come and especially gifted as a receiver and returner. One player comp for McCaffrey has been former Eagles great Brian Westbrook, but Westbrook himself doesn't seem to be a fan of McCaffrey at No. 14.

15. Indianapolis Colts (Draft History): Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA

The Colts lost a number of pass-rushers to free agency or retirement (Erik Walden, Robert Mathis, etc.) and added others in free agency (Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, etc.), but you can never have too many pass-rushers. An explosive athlete with a relentless motor, McKinley had a breakout season for the Bruins with 18 tackles for loss including 10 sacks.

MORE: The Indianapolis Colts have the easiest strength of schedule in 2017

16. Baltimore Ravens (Draft History): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Without Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken, the Ravens will rely on Mike Wallace, a free agent after the 2017 season, and former first-rounder Breshad Perriman, who missed the 2015 season due to injury and posted a 33/499/3 line in 2016. Both Wallace and Perriman have elite speed as vertical receivers, but Davis has the talent to develop into a true No. 1 receiver for the Ravens.

In each of his past three seasons, Davis has dominated lesser competition with 1,400-plus yards and 12-plus touchdowns. The senior receiver has excellent size (6-3, 213), speed, hands and is an outstanding route-runner. Assuming Davis is selected here (or somewhere in Round 1), he will Randy Moss as the second MAC wide receiver to be selected in the first round.

- Continue to picks 17-32 in our 2017 NFL Mock Draft

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April 02, 2017

2017 NFL Mock Draft: Myles Garrett, Mitchell Trubisky to Browns

Now only four weeks from the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, the majority of free-agency moves and college Pro Days are behind us.

Leading up to the draft, I will project all seven rounds and 253 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft.

For now, here is how I think Round 1 could play out:

1. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

No position in sports, not just football, is more important than quarterback and the Browns lack of success in finding their franchise quarterback has been well-documented. Even though the Browns used a third-round pick on Cody Kessler in last year's draft, the quarterback position remains unsettled for the long term.

With so many other holes on the roster, however, Garrett is all but a lock as the No. 1 overall pick. In fact, the Browns have five top-65 selections; three more than any other team.

Only the Raiders (25) recorded fewer sacks than the Browns (26) last season, but Emmanuel Ogbah, one of the team's 2016 second-round picks, led the team with 5.5 sacks last year. Racking up 31.0 sacks in 34 career games, Garrett has the length, burst and freakish athleticism to make an immediate impact and the potential to develop into a perenniel All-Pro pass-rusher.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

San Francisco's fourth head coach in as many seasons, Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have time on their side after signing six-year deals this offseason. In other words, they have the job security to rebuild the roster with a long-term view in mind.

Neither Brian Hoyer nor Matt Barkley is the long-term answer at quarterback. And perhaps Kirk Cousins will be that guy (starting in 2018). But with so many holes and such a high pick in a talent-rich draft, it's unlikely that the 49ers reach for a quarterback here.

Even though the 49ers (albeit Trent Baalke) have selected defensive linemen with back-to-back first-round picks in 2015 (Arik Armstead) and 2016 (DeForest Buckner), Thomas has outstanding quickness and strength to go along with a tireless motor that warrants a selection this high in the 2017 draft.

3. Chicago Bears (Draft History): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

Signing Mike Glennon to a three-year deal in free agency all but eliminates the possibility that the Bears use this pick on a quarterback. If things don't work out with Glennon, however, it would only be a $4.5 million cap hit for the Bears to move on after the 2017 season.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Lattimore sustained a hip flexor or hamstring injury (depending on whom you ask), but he participated in on-field drills at Ohio State's Pro Day. His history of hamstring injuries is a potential concern with Lattimore, but he has elite athleticism (4.36 forty and 38.5-inch vertical) and the cover skills to develop into a true shutdown corner.

MORE: Bears select a QB in my way-too-early 2018 NFL Mock Draft

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

One year after giving Malik Jackson a massive free-agent deal, the Jags signed Calais Campbell to a $60 million contract. Perhaps there are some concerns about arthritis in his shoulders or his overall level of athleticism, but Allen gives the Jags another highly disruptive, productive and run-dominant defensive lineman with the versatility to play multiple spots along the line.

In both news and other mock drafts, a common prospect linked to the Jags with this particular pick is LSU's Leonard Fournette. With the regression of quarterback Blake Bortles, a good and improving defense and last year's 27th-ranked rushing offense (92.1 yards per game), Fournette would make sense as well.

5. Tennessee Titans (Draft History), via Rams: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Upgrading the secondary was a major need for the Titans and their two biggest free-agent signings (cornerback Logan Ryan and safety John Cyprien) will help to bolster the unit. While those moves give them more flexibility with this pick, it wouldn't surprise me if they added another defensive back here. With a first-round pedigree (father George was a first-round pick in 1984), Adams has the versatility to play either safety spot and is a defensive tone-setter.

6. New York Jets (Draft History): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

In the previous version of this mock, I slotted a quarterback (UNC's Mitchell Trubisky) to join the trio of Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Even though they team used (wasted?) a second-round pick on Hackenberg, the long-term answer at the position does not appear to currently be on the roster. If they go in a different (non-QB) direction with the sixth-overall pick, someone like Howard could help whoever is under center. Howard is a complete tight end that excels as a blocker while also possessing elite physical tools (4.51 forty at 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds) to create mismatches in the passing game.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (Draft History): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Drawing comparisons to Ed Reed, Hooker is a ball-hawking free safety with tremendous range that finished his first season as a starter with seven interceptions. A pair of surgeries kept him from working out at the combine, but Hooker would be a Day 1 starter and upgrade for Gus Bradley's defense.

8. Carolina Panthers (Draft History): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

The last time Jonathan Stewart did not miss at least three games in a season was 2011. Not only did Stewart recently turn 30, but he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry last season. The Panthers signed Stewart to a one-year extension, but perhaps more than anything, that helps to alleviate his cap hit for 2017.

Given his unique combination of size, power and speed, Fournette is built to be a workhorse back that will wear down opposing defenses as the game progresses. With quarteback Cam Newton recently undergoing shoulder surgery, Fournette will help take some pressure off Cam while also significantly upgrading the long-term outlook of their rushing attack.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Draft History): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Carlos Dunlap had 8.0 sacks (and defensive tackle Geno Atkins had 9.0), but the Bengals could use an upgrade opposite Dunlap as 30-year-old Michael Johnson had 3.5 sacks and graded out as PFF's 105th edge rusher (out of 109 qualified players).

While he may lack the elite burst of some other pass-rushers in this class, Barnett's production is unparalelled as no player had more sacks over the past three seasons combined. In fact, Barnett broke Reggie White's all-time sack record at Tennessee despite playing only three seasons and the junior edge rusher became the first player in SEC history to record double-digit sacks in three different (consecutive) seasons.

10. Buffalo Bills (Draft History): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Before free agency began, speculation led to the Bills parting ways with Tyrod Taylor -- and many mocks, including mine, had the Bills selecting a quarterback in this slot. With Taylor agreeing to a restructured deal (or pay cut), adding reinforcements would make sense especially given the durability track record of stud receiver Sammy Watkins and free-agent departures of Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin.

In each of his past three seasons, Davis has dominated lesser competition with 1,400-plus yards and 12-plus touchdowns. The senior receiver has excellent size (6-3, 213), speed, hands and is an outstanding route-runner.

11. New Orleans Saints (Draft History): Rueben Foster, LB, Alabama

Only the 49ers (30.0) allowed more points per game than the Saints (28.4) last season, New Orleans can use help at all three levels of their defense. The Butkus Award winner as college football's top linebacker, Foster is a devastating hitter with sideline-to-sideline range.

12. Cleveland Browns (Draft History), via Eagles: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

Since returning in 1999, three quarterbacks have double-digit wins during their time in Cleveland: Tim Couch (22), Derek Anderson (16) and Brian Hoyer (10). Out of that group, only Hoyer (10-6) has a winning record as a starter. Meanwhile, 26 of them have a QB loss.

Passing on Carson Wentz last season, it's possible that they pass on a quarterback here given the talent that could be available in next year's draft. And with their number of picks including the second-round pick obtained by acquiring free-agent flop Brock Osweiler, it's possible that the Browns are able to package together an offer to pry Jimmy Garoppolo away from the Patriots (despite New England's apparent reluctance to part ways with their backup QB).

Completing 68.2 percent of his pass attempts with 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2016, the biggest knock on Trubisky is his relative lack of experience as a starter. That said, the local kid (Mentor, OH) looks the part with a strong arm and good mobility.

13. Arizona Cardinals (Draft History): Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

The Cardinals are fortunate to have cornerback Patrick Peterson, but that means teams will heavily target the other cornerback. And for the most part, that has been met with plenty of success.

If college teammate Lattimore tops the cornerback draft class, you could argue that Conley is the second best in this deep and talented group. With good length (6-0 with 33-inch arms) and athleticism (4.44 forty and 37-inch vertical), Conley has started every game over the past two seasons and intercepted four passes in 2016.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (Draft History), via MIN: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU

Signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency addresses one of their biggest needs this offseason. Another big need that hasn't yet been addressed is the secondary. Last year's starting cornerbacks -- Nolan Carroll and Jalen Mills -- graded out as PFF's 92nd and 112th (of 112) cornerbacks last season and Carroll is now in Dallas. Essentially a four-year starter with outstanding cover skills, White could be the first (of potentially multiple) pick(s) to improve their secondary in the draft.

15. Indianapolis Colts (Draft History): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

New GM Chris Ballard has been active in free agency as the Colts have added six new players to their front-seven. But there is still plenty of work to do to continue to improve this 26th-ranked defense (379.1/G) from last season.

A three-down linebacker prospect with tremendous speed and range, Reddick began his Temple career as a walk-on defensive back and has played a variety of roles for the Owls. Last year, Reddick finished with 22.5 tackles for loss, third-most in college football, and a team-high 10.5 sacks.

16. Baltimore Ravens (Draft History): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Without Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken, the Ravens will rely on Mike Wallace, a free agent after the 2017 season, and former first-rounder Breshad Perriman, who missed the 2015 season due to injury and posted a 33/499/3 line in 2016. Both Wallace and Perriman have elite speed as vertical receivers, something that Williams doesn't necessarily possess, but he has the talent to develop into a true No. 1 receiver with the size and physicality to overpower defensive backs.

- Continue to picks 17-32 in our 2017 NFL Mock Draft

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February 23, 2017

Way-too-early 2018 NFL Mock Draft: Browns Select Franchise Quarterback

We are still a week away from the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine and more than two months away from the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia.

So, naturally, it makes sense to post my first 2018 NFL Mock Draft. (Of course, it makes no sense as there is so much that will change between now and then.)

But that won't stop me.

For simplicity, the 2018 NFL Draft order used below is based on the draft order for this year's draft. More than anything, the goal of this mock draft is to highlight some players and some possible fits, but this will clearly look so different with future iterations of this mock draft.

With all of that said, here is my early projection of how Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft could play out:

1. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Sam Darnold, QB, USC

It appears to be a lock that the Browns will use their No. 1 overall pick in 2017 to select Texas A&M's Myles Garrett, the consensus top player available in this year's draft. Provided they don't trade for Jimmy Garoppolo or draft a signal-caller with their other first-round pick, selecting a potential franchise quarterback like Darnold would make sense next year if the Browns are once again in this spot.

Not only is the 2018 quarterback class widely viewed as being more talented than this year's crop of quarterbacks, Darnold has the potential to be the best of the group. With prototypical physical tools and outstanding poise and leadership, the redshirt freshman engineered a come-from-behind victory over Penn State in Rose Bowl as he threw for 453 yards and five scores.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

Based on my 2017 NFL Mock Draft (as of 2/17), Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers will get their franchise quarterback in UNC's Mitch Trubisky. There is some uncertainty with Key, who has recently taken a leave of absence for personal reasons, but he's an explosive edge rusher that set the school's single-season sack record (12) as a true sophomore in 2016.

3. Chicago Bears (Draft History): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

The Jay Cutler era is likely to end soon and both backup-caliber quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley are due to become unrestricted free agents. In previous versions of my 2017 mock, I've had the Bears select Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer. It's unlikely that they pass on a signal-caller once again if they don't address the position long term this year.

Perhaps the Bears go with another Josh (UCLA's Rosen) at quarterback, but Allen has great size (6-5, 222) and plays in a pro-style offense although he is a bit raw. One AFC Exec told MMQB's Albert Breer, "He’s a big ol’ kid with a big arm, and he’s pretty athletic too. We gotta learn more about him, but the tools are there." Coincidentally, Allen plays for Craig Bohl, who recruited Carson Wentz to North Dakota State.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Derwin James, S, Florida State

With Tashaun Gipson signed to a free-agent deal before last season, the Jags may go in a different direction here. That said, James is a freakish talent that warrants a top-five selection and one ACC coach said the following of James before the start of last season: "Derwin James is flat scary good. He could probably start at all 11 positions. He’s one of those freaky guys who might be better than Ramsey when it’s all said and done."

5. Los Angeles Rams (Draft History): Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama

The Rams could certainly use more weapons for or help protecting Jared Goff and I strongly considered slotting Christian Kirk or Calvin Ridley to them. But defensive back could be a need as well. Trumaine Johnson is a free agent this year, Lamarcus Joyner is a free agent next year and E.J. Gaines graded out as the 107th-best of 112 qualified cornerbacks last season. With experience at both cornerback and safety, the 6-foot-1 Fitzpatrick led the SEC with six interceptions as a sophomore.

6. New York Jets (Draft History): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Perhaps the Jets will address their need at quarterback in 2017 with only two unproven quarterbacks -- Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg -- on the roster. Considering they used a second-round pick on Hackenberg last season, it's possibly the franchise waits another year before investing a high draft pick in the position. Expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft even before stepping foot on campus, Rosen's 2016 season was cut short by a shoulder injury and he will now have his third offensive coordinator in as many seasons. But if Rosen's still available here, it would be difficult for the Jets to pass on him.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (Draft History): Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Left tackle King Dunlap has played in only 19 of 32 games over the past two seasons and will turn 33 years old at the beginning of the 2018 NFL season. While the team's offensive line seems to be in perpetual need of an upgrade, McGlinchey would be a first step in upgrading it.

8. Carolina Panthers (Draft History): Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

One of the most explosive receivers in college football, Kirk (5-11, 200) has 80-plus catches and 900-plus yards in each of his first two seasons in College Station. In addition, Kirk has averaged 22.25 yards per punt return with five returned for scores over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, WR/PR/KR Ted Ginn Jr. is a free agent heading into the 2017 season.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Draft History): Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

While his sophomore season (71/776/7) was a disappointment at least compared to expectations and his freshman production (89/1,045/7), Ridley has elite speed, hands and route-running ability to develop into a true No. 1 receiver at the next level. If Tyler Eifert could stay healthy, the Bengals would have one of the best trios of pass-catchers with A.J. Green, Ridley and Eifert for years to come.

10. Buffalo Bills (Draft History): Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

Originally committed to play lacrosse at Notre Dame and a high school safety, Hubbard is a freakish athlete that closed the season strong. Per PFF, Hubbard had seven total pressures and 12 defensive stops in the team's final three games. If he builds upon that momentum in 2017, Hubbard could become a top-10 pick in 2018.

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January 27, 2017

2017 NFL Mock Draft: Three QBs in the Top 10?

Roughly three months until Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, here's one prediction that's sure to come true: This mock draft will look a lot different in April than it looks today.

It's virtually impossible to predict how things will shake out three minutes before the start of a draft, let alone three months before it. After all, some prospects will rise and fall following workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine and their Pro Days, teams will fill needs (or not) via NFL free agency, etc.

As we get closer to April, I will add more rounds to this mock with the goal to be a full seven-round mock draft.

With all of that said, here is my early projection of how Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft could play out:

1. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

Obviously, it's a quarterback-driven league and the Browns (still) do not have a franchise quarterback on the roster. While the team used a third-round pick on Cody Kessler in the 2016 NFL Draft, he's a low-end, low-upside starter (if not a career backup). That said, if the team passed on a signal-caller at the top of last year's draft class, there's a good chance they won't feel compelled to select a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick this year.

The Browns defense could use upgrades at all three levels. Not only did the Browns rank 31st in total defense (375.4 YPG) and 30th in scoring defense (28.3 PPG), but only the Raiders (25) recorded fewer sacks than the Browns (26) in 2016. On a positive note, Emmanuel Ogbah, one of the team's 2016 second-round picks, led the team with 5.5 sacks.

With Garrett, the Browns get a difference-making pass-rusher that is widely viewed as the top prospect in this year's draft class. After finishing with 11-plus sacks in his first two collegiate seasons, the explosive edge rusher had just 8.5 sacks in 10 games this season as he battled a high-ankle sprain in addition to facing many double and triple teams from opposing defenses.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

As usual, there are several quarterback-needy franchises picking at the top of the draft yet there isn't necessarily a slam-dunk consensus choice at the position. Not only is Blaine Gabbert a free agent (and not a good quarterback), but there is a good chance that Colin Kaepernick won't on the opening day roster either.

Only a one-year starter for the Tar Heels, Trubisky completed 68.2 percent of his pass attempts with 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2016. With good size (6-3, 220), accuracy, a strong arm and mobility, he possesses all of the traits to potentially develop into a franchise quarterback for presumed head coach Kyle Shanahan.

3. Chicago Bears (Draft History): Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

Will the Bears go with Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer or Clemson's Deshaun Watson here and make it two quarterbacks in the top three? (After all, Dabo Sweeney recently compared Watson to Michael Jordan.) It's certainly possible the Bears draft a quarterback here as they are expected to move on from Jay Cutler, but it wouldn't surprise me if they go with Allen here.

Few prospects are as safe as Allen. With the versatility to play multiple spots along the defensive line, Allen closed his collegiate career with back-to-back seasons with double-digit sacks and will help shore up Chicago's 27th-ranked run defense.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Possessing great size (6-1, 213) and a first-round pedigree (father George was a first-round pick in 1984), Adams has the versatility to play either safety spot, but he is especially good playing in the box. Having his best season, strong safety John Cyprien was the seventh-graded PFF safety (of 90 qualified), but he will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

5. Tennessee Titans (Draft History), via Rams: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

With a franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota, the Titans exceeded expectations in 2016 and have a bright future. One area that needs to be addressed via the draft and/or free agency, however, is their pass defense, which ranked 30th in the NFL last season. One of the deeper positions in this year's draft class, the Titans can double-dip with a pair of first-round cornerbacks as I project in this mock.

6. New York Jets (Draft History): DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

None of the quarterbacks on the 2016 roster have shown that they are the long-term answer at quarterback for the Jets and both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith are free agents anyways. Perhaps it's too early to judge Christian Hackenberg, but Kizer has all of the physical tools to potentially become the long-term answer for the Jets.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (Draft History): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Drawing comparisons to Ed Reed, Hooker is a play-making safety with tremendous range. One year after letting Eric Weddle depart via free agency, Hooker would fill the void.

8. Carolina Panthers (Draft History): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

The last time that Jonathan Stewart did not miss at least three games was 2011. Stewart, who turns 30 in March, averaged just 3.8 yards per carry this season and there is some speculation that Stewart could turn out to be a cap casualty. A man among boys, Fournette has a rare combination of size, power and speed and his presence would help take some pressure off of Cam Newton even if Stewart isn't released.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Draft History): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

Viewed by some as a 'tweener, the redshirt sophomore was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and was dominant in the Sun Bowl win over UNC. Possessing rare physical attributes, Thomas has drawn some comparisons to J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald, but the long-term upside is tremendous.

10. Buffalo Bills (Draft History): Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Tyrod Taylor's days as starter in Buffalo appear to be numbered, so the Bills could be in the market for a starter with this pick if (at least) one of the top-three signal-callers is still available here. First-round bust E.J. Manuel will be an unrestricted free agent and the only other quarterback on the roster is fourth-rounder Cardale Jones.

There is plenty to like about the dual-threat Watson, who led Clemson to a national championship win over Alabama and a runner-up finish the year before. While he has come up big in big games, he has struggled with accuracy and thrown too many interceptions -- 30 over his past two seasons -- so it's possible that Trubisky and/or Kizer are selected before him.

11. New Orleans Saints (Draft History): Rueben Foster, LB, Alabama

The Saints have finished 27th in team defense and have failed to make the postseason in each of the past three seasons. Obviously, adding playmakers to all three levels of their defense should be their offseason priority. The Butkus Award winner as college football's top linebacker, Foster is a devastating hitter with sideline-to-sideline range.

12. Cleveland Browns (Draft History), via Eagles: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Isaiah Crowell had a number of big games (four 100-yard games), but he also rushed for less than 30 yards in seven of 16 games. Cook is a true difference-maker at the position and is a threat to take it to the house any time he touches the ball.

13. Arizona Cardinals (Draft History): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

The first wide receiver off the board in this mock, Davis has dominated lesser competition with 1,400-plus yards and 12-plus touchdowns in each of his past three seasons. The senior receiver has excellent size (6-3, 213), speed, hands and is an outstanding route-runner.

While the Cardinals had a trio of receivers with 50-plus catches for 800-plus yards in 2015, wide receiver has become a position of need with plenty of question marks over the short term. While Larry Fitzgerald is expected back in 2017, his career is winding down, the team cut Michael Floyd earlier this season after his DUI arrest and John Brown has had some health concerns.

** Note: A coin flip will break a tie to determine whether the Colts or Eagles pick 14th or 15th. **

14. Indianapolis Colts (Draft History): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Far from the most explosive edge rusher, Barnett has been one of college football's most productive. After all, Barnett broke Reggie White's school record with 33 sacks in just three seasons.

The Colts had two players that recorded more than three sacks -- Erik Walden (11.0) and Robert Mathis (5.0). Walden is an unrestricted free agent and the soon-to-be 36-year-old Robert Mathis has announced his retirement.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (Draft History), via MIN: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

Tabor certainly doesn't lack confidence and ex-Florida coach Will Muschamps put Tabor in his "starting five" of trash-talkers. But Tabor has the size, aggressive demeanor and ball skills to help upgrade a positional unit in massive need of improvement.

16. Baltimore Ravens (Draft History): Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

As PFF's 19th-graded offensive tackle, starting right tackle Ricky Wagner is about to become an unrestricted free agent. Especially if the Ravens are unable to re-sign Wagner, Robinson would be a good fit here. Even though he has started exclusively on the left side at Alabama, he may be a better fit on the right side opposite last year's first-round pick Ronnie Stanley.

- Continue to picks 17-32 in our 2017 NFL Mock Draft

- For more mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

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January 20, 2017

Fantasy Football Rankings: Conference Championship Fantasy TE Rankings

As the final four teams vie for an opportunity to advance to Super Bowl LI, both games should feature plenty of offense with game totals of 61 and 51 points, respectively, for the NFC and AFC Conference Championship Games.

Here are our Conference Championship fantasy tight end rankings:

1. Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers

For the second time this season, Cook had a six-catch, 100-yard performance with a touchdown as he finished Sunday's game with 6/104/1 on 11 targets. The frustrating aspect of starting Cook is his propensity to lay an egg following big games. After his other 100-yard game, Cook had one catch for seven yards in the next game. On a positive note, Cook has eight-plus targets in four of his past five games and Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as ever. In addition, Green Bay's wide receivers are banged up, which could lead to more reliance on Randall Cobb and Cook.

2. Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots

Bennett has had his share of small performances -- three games of five yards or less, six games of 15 yards or less, etc. On the other hand, Bennett has three 100-yard games and another game with three TDs this season. In other words, the range of potential outcomes for the first-year Patriots tight end is wide.

3. Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers

Here's the good news: Green has 67-plus yards in three of his past four games played. The bad news? Green has played just six games this season and he hasn't played since Week 15. It's unclear if Green (concussion) will be able to go in this week's AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, but he would be a top-three option at tight end if he's cleared by Sunday.

4. Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers

James converted six targets into five catches for 83 yards against the Chiefs and he'll be a top-three option at the position if Ladarius Green (concussion) is not cleared in time for Sunday's game.

5. Levine Toilolo, Atlanta Falcons

Toilolo led Atlanta's tight ends in targets (four) and finished with two catches for 26 yards. While he's a TD-dependent option, the Falcons have a weekend-high 32-point team total so touchdowns could be plentiful on Sunday.

6. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta's tight end of the future, Hooper turned his lone target into a 10-yard reception as Levine Toilolo led the position group with two catches for 26 yards on four targets. Neither option is too appealing on their own merits, but both are daily fantasy tournament dart throws given the dearth of options at the position this week for a team that is expected to be the highest-scoring team.

7. Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

During Green Bay's eight-game winning streak, Aaron Rodgers has targeted the other Rodgers no more than two times in any of those wins. That said, he does have two touchdowns in his past four games and it's always possible that he makes the most of his one reception -- like he did in Dallas.

Conference Championship Round Fantasy Football Rankings:

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January 19, 2017

Fantasy Football Rankings: Conference Championship Fantasy WR Rankings

Among the four major fantasy positions, wide receiver has the most injury question marks going into this Sunday's games. As Sunday approaches, hopefully we will gain clarity about the status of those dealing with injuries.

With that said, here are our current Conference Championship Game fantasy wide receiver rankings:

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

It's rare to call a 106/1,284/12 season a disappointment, but Brown set four-year lows in both catches and yards in 2016. That said, the talented receiver has back-to-back 100-yard games this postseason and is a slam-dunk top-two option this weekend.

2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

If there's any concern with Jones, it's his foot but Atlanta's stud receiver will certainly suit up on Sunday. With a 6/67/1 line on eight targets, Jones spent nearly all of the second half of the sidelines due to his foot ailment, but part of that was Atlanta being cautious as they had a commanding lead. No team allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season than the Packers and Dez Bryant just lit up Green Bay's secondary for 9/132/2.

3. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

Especially in PPR formats, Edelman has an extremely high floor as Tom Brady's trusted top target. With double-digit targets in seven of eight games, Edelman has had his two best games of the season in his past two -- 8/151/1 and 8/137. Edelman has a minimum of 73 yards in nine consecutive games and at least seven catches in seven of those nine games.

4. Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers

Gaining only 47 yards on 11 carries, Montgomery now has four consecutive games with less than 50 rushing yards, but he scored on two of those 11 carries. Not only have the Falcons allowed 19 touchdowns to opposing "running backs," but no team has allowed more receptions (109) to the position.

5. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

Cobb had a solid, but not spectacular, performance (7/62/0) in the Divisional Round after he blew up for a 5/116/3 game the previous week. In a heavyweight fight between two offensive juggernauts, Cobb has plenty of upside (as do most of the other options in this game).

6. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

Not only did Adams have 12 touchdowns in the regular season and finish just three yards shy of 1,000, but he has double-digit targets in back-to-back games with a total of 13/201/1. If Jordy Nelson (ribs) is unable to go once again, Adams should see double-digit targets from Aaron Rodgers, who's playing as well as he has ever played. That is, assuming Adams is ready himself. Adams is dealing with an ankle injury and may not practice until Saturday. Adams is expected to play but only because it's the playoffs.

7. Taylor Gabriel, Atlanta Falcons

While Gabriel is a gadget player, he has been productive since Week 8 for the high-powered Falcons offense when he caught all three of his targets for 68 yards and a score. The opponent that week? The same one he faces this week. Going back to that game against the Packers, Gabriel has 31/543/6 receiving and 4/51/1 rushing in nine games.

8. Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons

On a two-game slate, virtually every skill-position player is in play, of course. That said, Sanu is a TD-reliant option for the Falcons as he has scored in back-to-back games, but he has five or fewer targets in five consecutive games. Given that Atlanta has the highest implied total from Vegas odds, touchdowns should be plentiful in an expected shootout Sunday afternoon.

9. Eli Rogers, Pittsburgh Steelers

Rogers has at least four receptions in four of his past five games, but he has 27 yards or less in back-to-back games and no scores in four straight. Rogers is a low-upside option on Sunday's two-game slate.

10. Chris Hogan, New England Patriots

In his first season with the Patriots, Hogan averaged a career-high 17.9 Y/R and had four catches for 95 yards in Saturday's win over the Texans. That said, Hogan has had five targets or less in all but two games this season.

11. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

Dealing with at least two broken ribs, Nelson sat out the past two games and is likely to sit out this weekend as well, but there is a "small chance" that he is able to go. Nelson had 97 catches for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and he'd be a top-three option if he's active. If he's not, it's a boost to Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and the rest of the Green Bay pass-catchers.

12. Malcolm Mitchell, New England Patriots

Mitchell has been battling a knee injury and has missed the previous two games (plus bye week), but he may return this week. If so, it just makes even harder to trust any Patriots receiver other than Edelman.

13. Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers

If Nelson sits again, Allison will be counted on as the team's No. 3 "wide receiver," but he could still be fifth in line for targets behind Adams, Cobb, Montgomery and Jared Cook. In addition, Allison is battling a hamstring injury and is less than 100 percent. The UDFA out of Illinois has a total of 13 catches for 211 yards and a touchdown in his past four games combined.

Here are the best of the rest:

14. Justin Hardy, Atlanta Falcons
15. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
16. Michael Floyd, New England Patriots
17. Cobi Hamilton, Pittsburgh Steelers
18. Jeff Janis, Green Bay Packers
19. DeMarcus Ayers, Pittsburgh Steelers
20. Trevor Davis, Green Bay Packers
21. Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh Steelers
22. Aldrick Robinson, Atlanta Falcons
23. Nick Williams, Atlanta Falcons

Conference Championship Round Fantasy Football Rankings:

Conference Championship Round DFS Cheat Sheets:

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Fantasy Football Rankings: Conference Championship Fantasy RB Rankings

As the final four teams vie for an opportunity to advance to Super Bowl LI, both games should feature plenty of offense with game totals of 61 and 51 points, respectively, for the NFC and AFC Conference Championship Games.

With that said, here are my fantasy football running back rankings for Sunday's games:

1. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Patriots' defensive game plan typically focuses on shutting (or slowing) down the opponent's biggest weapon. As talented as Antonio Brown is, the Patriots will (likely) make slowing down Bell their primary objective. That is easier said than done. With seven 100-yard rushing games in his past eight, Bell has a total of 220/1,172/8 rushing (5.33 YPC) and 34/259/1 receiving over that eight-game span.

2. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

Freeman carried the ball 14 times for just 45 yards on Saturday, but he still racked up 125 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown for a productive fantasy outing. Once again exceeding 1,000 rushing yards and 50 receptions on the season, Freeman has scored a combined 28 touchdowns in his past 32 games. As home favorites in a game with a massive 61-point game total, Freeman should see 18-plus touches and is a good bet to find the end zone.

3. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons

Not only is Coleman a viable start in playoff and/or daily fantasy leagues, but it's not a bad idea to start him along with Freeman. The 1(b) to Freeman's 1(a), Coleman had double-digit touches in all but two games (Weeks 6 and 7) this season and finished as a top-25 weekly fantasy running back in nine of 13 regular-season games played. Coleman scored 12 touchdowns in 14 games including Saturday's win over Seattle and is a threat to take it to the house any time he touches the ball.

4. Dion Lewis, New England Patriots

With a trifecta of touchdowns (rushing, receiving and return), Lewis (15) had nearly twice the amount of touches as LeGarrette Blount (seven) on Saturday. Projecting workloads for Patriots running backs is always a challenge, but Lewis appears to have emerged as the team's lead back with a team-high 70 combined touches over the past four games.

5. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots

Setting career highs across the board this season with 299 carries, 1,161 yards and a league-high 18 touchdowns, Blount is no longer a lock for a massive workload if the Pats happen to jump out to a big lead with Lewis' role expanding recently. Blount had a season-low eight carries for 31 yards, which tied a season low, on Saturday.

6. Aaron Ripkowski, Green Bay Packers

On an eight-game winning streak, the Packers have scored 30-plus points in six consecutive games. Ripkowski will get the occasional carry (four last week) or reception (two the previous week), but his biggest chance for fantasy relevance is to potentially vulture a short-yardage touchdown from Ty Montgomery.

7. James White, New England Patriots

It's clear that White has become a distant third in line behind both Lewis and Blount in usage among the team's running backs as he had just one touch -- albeit a 19-yard touchdown reception -- last week.

8. Christine Michael, Green Bay Packers

Finishing the year as Seattle's leading rusher, Michael had zero touches for the Packers in their instant-classic victory over the Cowboys after getting 10 carries in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Despite his talent, it would take an injury for Michael to see fantasy-relevant snaps and usage.

Conference Championship Round Fantasy Football Rankings:

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January 18, 2017

Fantasy Football Rankings: Conference Championship Fantasy QB Rankings

And then there were four.

Down to the NFL's version of the Final Four, the Falcons will host the Packers and the Patriots will host the Steelers in Sunday's Conference Championship games.

Not only do both games have over/unders in excess of 50 points, but the combined totals for the two games is 112.0 points so there should be no shortage of offense.

With that said, here are our fantasy quarterback rankings for Sunday's Conference Championship Games:

1. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Not only did Ryan lead the NFL in Y/A (9.3), TD% (7.1) and passer rating (117.1), but Ryan gets a soft matchup against the Packers this week. Green Bay ranked 32nd in Y/A allowed (8.1) and only the Browns (36) and Lions (33) allowed more passing touchdowns than the Packers (32) this season. Ryan has been playing especially well lately with 14 touchdowns and no interceptions over his past five games and a minimum passer rating of 121.8 in each of those contests.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

It appears unlikely that Jordy Nelson (broken ribs) will be able to return this week, but the future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer is perhaps playing as well as he has ever played. Over his past nine games, Rodgers has thrown 24 touchdowns to only one interception. Not only have the Packers scored 30-plus points in six consecutive games, but Rodgers has thrown for 300-plus yards in four straight. In an expected shootout with an over/under of 61 points, Rodgers has as much upside as any quarterback this weekend.

3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

With only one 300-yard game in his past eight games played since Rob Gronkowski was injured, Brady has still managed to throw 18 touchdowns during that eight-game span. While he had only three interceptions over that stretch, two of them came last week against Houston's second-ranked NFL pass defense. His upside isn't as high without Gronk, but it's never a bad idea to start Brady in fantasy.

4. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

There is clearly a difference between the home and road versions of Big Ben. In seven home games this season, Roethlisberger has a 22:7 TD-INT ratio, 70.9 completion percentage and 8.66 Y/A. On the road, however, he has thrown as many interceptions (nine) as touchdowns (nine) this season while completing less than 60 percent of his pass attempts (59.9%) for only 6.78 Y/A.

Conference Championship Round Fantasy Football Rankings:

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January 15, 2017

Divisional Round Fantasy Football Projections: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

Later today, the Dallas Cowboys will host the Green Bay Packers for the right to advance to the NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Below you will my fantasy football projections for today's Cowboys vs. Packers matchup.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Aaron Rodgers26.640.12872.30.53150.121.78
Against the Giants on Sunday, Rodgers threw for 362 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions to extend his streak of 300/4 games to three. Over his past eight games, Rodgers has thrown 22 touchdowns and no interceptions. Jordy Nelson (ribs) has already been ruled out this week, but as well as Rodgers has been playing, he's easily the top quarterback option in fantasy this weekend.

Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Christine Michael6.927.30.30.31.604.69
Tied his season high in carries (10) since joining the Packers, Michael led the team in rushing with 47 yards on the ground. That said, Michael's carries didn't come until the second half and I'd still expect Montgomery to handle a larger share of the workload this weekend.
Aaron Ripkowski1.87.80.11.79.50.23.53

Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Davante Adams677.20.800012.52
Falling just shy of the 1,000-yard milestone (997), Adams finished with 12 touchdowns and the seventh-most fantasy points in the regular season. With Jordy Nelson (ribs) leaving Sunday's playoff game early, Adams had 8/125/1 on 12 targets against the Giants and should lead the Packers in targets in the Divisional Round.
Ty Montgomery4.237.10.110.551.309.44
Montgomery wasn't very efficient running the ball -- 11 carries for 27 yards -- and he exited the game briefly due to an ankle injury. That said, he had 41 receiving yards, which was his second-most over his past 10 games. In large part due to their ball-control offense, the Cowboys led the NFL in rushing defense (83.5 yards per game allowed) as opponents ran the ball a league-low 340 times against them.
Randall Cobb5.557.90.40.61.708.36
A non-factor down the stretch, Cobb had a huge game against the Giants with five catches for 116 yards and three touchdowns. While I wouldn't expect another three-TD performance, Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as ever and he should look Cobb's way often.
Geronimo Allison2.741.90.40006.59
With Nelson forced to sit due to his ribs injury, Allison will be counted on to step up as the team's No. 3 receiver. In an Aaron Rodgers-led offense and given how well he has played over the past half-season, that gives Allison some upside.
Jeff Janis0.54.600.11.500.61

Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Jared Cook5.262.10.27.41
Cook had 5/48 on Sunday and his nine targets were second on the team behind only Davante Adams (12). With Jordy Nelson (ribs) sidelined this week, Cook should see six or more targets in a favorable matchup. The Cowboys allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.
Richard Rodgers0.65.600.56

DALLAS COWBOYS

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Dak Prescott21.331.92561.60.53.1140.318.84
Playing unlike a rookie, Prescott completed 67.8 percent of his pass attempts for 8.0 Y/A and threw 23 touchdowns to only four interceptions. In addition, he ran for another 282 yards and six touchdowns. Early in the season, Prescott led the Cowboys to a 14-point victory over the Packers as he completed 18-of-27 for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Even though the Packers have been playing much better defense lately, this is still a plus matchup for Dak and the Cowboys.

Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Ezekiel Elliott24115.812.526.30.120.81
Even though he sat out Week 17, Elliott led the NFL in carries (322) and rushing (1,631 yards) while scoring 15 touchdowns and finished just six yards shy of 2,000 yards from scrimmage. With 20-plus touches in 12 of 15 games this season, Elliott never scored fewer than 10 fantasy points in any game this season.
Darren McFadden3.111.600.63.801.54
Lance Dunbar0001.18.500.85
Alfred Morris0.31.100000.11

Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Dez Bryant4.7730.700011.5
Returning from a multi-game absence in Week 8, Bryant missed the first matchup against the Packers (Week 6), but he posted a 39/646/7 line over a nine-game stretch from Weeks 8 to 16. Even though the Packers have played better defense recently, no team allowed opposing wide receivers to haul in more touchdowns than the Packers (26). Only the Eagles (15.01) allowed more yards per reception than the Packers (14.37) to opposing receivers.
Cole Beasley4.654.80.40.10.707.95
Beasley had a two-TD performance against the Packers the first time these two teams met, but Bryant missed that game and Beasley's fantasy production has slowed considerably since that point. In the final six games of the season, Beasley finished as the WR50 or worse in every game and he had less than 50 yards in his five final games of the season.
Terrance Williams3.345.30.30006.33
After a six-game stretch from Weeks 8 to 13 with just nine catches and 83 yards, he has 15/200 over the final four games of the season. That said, Williams isn't much more than a TD-dependent dart throw as he has scored in three of his past six games.
Brice Butler0.34.20.10001.02
Lucky Whitehead0.34.700.64.500.92

Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Jason Witten3.638.20.25.02
Witten had a solid season (69/673/3), but he is a low-upside option at the position as he had just three top-12 weekly performances (standard scoring) this season.
Gavin Escobar0.21.800.18

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January 13, 2017

Divisional Round Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings

Perhaps the best weekend of the football year kicks off on Saturday as the final eight teams will square off for the right to advance to the AFC and NFC Conference Championship Games.


Here are our top-eight fantasy football quarterback rankings for this weekend's slate of games:

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers: Against the Giants on Sunday, Rodgers threw for 362 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions to extend his streak of 300/4 games to three. Over his past eight games, Rodgers has thrown 22 touchdowns and no interceptions. It appears that Jordy Nelson (ribs) is unlikely to play this week, but as well as Rodgers has been playing, he's easily the top quarterback option in fantasy this weekend.

2. Matt Ryan, Falcons: Only Aaron Rodgers scored more fantasy points this season than Ryan, who had a career (and MVP-caliber) season. Not only did Ryan set career highs in yards (4,944) and touchdowns (38) and a career low in interceptions (seven), he led the league in TD% (7.1), Y/A (9.3) and passer rating (117.1). Along with Carson Palmer and Tom Brady, Ryan was one of just three quarterbacks to throw for 300-plus yards against Seattle this season.

3. Tom Brady, Patriots: Since Week 11, Brady has thrown for 300-plus yards in only one of seven games, but he does have a 16:1 TD-INT ratio during that seven-game span. With one of the league's best secondaries, the Texans allowed the second-fewest passing yards this season and the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

4. Dak Prescott, Cowboys: Playing unlike a rookie, Prescott completed 67.8 percent of his pass attempts for 8.0 Y/A and threw 23 touchdowns to only four interceptions. In addition, he ran for another 282 yards and six touchdowns. Early in the season, Prescott led the Cowboys to a 14-point victory over the Packers as he completed 18-of-27 for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Even though the Packers have been playing much better defense lately, this is still a plus matchup for Dak and the Cowboys.

5. Russell Wilson, Seahawks: Coming off an efficient 23-of-30 playoff performance, it has been an up-and-down season for Wilson and Seattle's offense. That said, Wilson has finished as a top-five weekly fantasy quarterback in six of his final 13 games this season. As much as the Seahawks would like to run the ball, control the clock and keep Matt Ryan and the high-powered Falcons offense off the field, they could find themselves needing to keep (or catch) up in what should be a high-scoring game.

6. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: Big Ben was a walking boot after Sunday's game, but it appears that his foot won't be an issue for this week's matchup against the Chiefs. Earlier in the season, Roethlisberger completed 22-of-27 for 300 yards and five touchdowns against the Chiefs. That was at Heinz Field, however, and Roethlisberger has some sharp home-road splits. Dominant at home (24.65 fantasy points per game this season), he averaged just 13.03 fantasy points in eight road games.

7. Alex Smith, Chiefs: An efficient but low-upside option, Smith set career highs of 3,502 yards and five rushing touchdowns, he also set four-year lows in passing touchdowns (15) and rushing yards (134).

8. Brock Osweiler, Texans: A distant eighth (among eight starting QBs) in this weekend's fantasy rankings, Osweiler led the Texans to a win over a Derek Carr-less Raiders team on Saturday. While he didn't play horribly, Osweiler still threw for just 168 yards (6.7 Y/A) and one touchdown last weekend. More than two-TD underdogs, Osweiler and the Texans are projected to score fewer than 15 points based on implied totals from Vegas odds.

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January 01, 2017

Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Beazley)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 17 NFL picks against the spread:

New Orleans Saints +8 over Atlanta Falcons (5 Units)

Too many points here. Drew Brees does have notable home/road splits, but he actually isn't too bad in road dome games. This game has a total of 58 for a reason. I think the Saints upset the Falcons on the road here. Saints 38, Falcons 34.

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Green Bay Packers -3.5 over Detroit Lions (5 Units)

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are on fire just at the right time. Cowboys fans better hope Detroit can win here because they definitely do not want to see this Packers team in the playoffs. I think both offenses play well, but Rodgers wins it late. Packers 30, Lions 24.

Houston Texans +4 over Tennessee Titans (5 Units)

The Texans have nothing to play for, but I still think they need to get things right on offense before next week's playoff game. The Titans secondary is atrocious. I think Houston keeps this one close enough, although I do think Tennessee wins to finish above .500. Tennessee 23, Houston 20.

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Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Hanson)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 17 NFL picks against the spread:

Kansas City Chiefs -5 over San Diego Chargers (3 Units)

A win over San Diego -- coupled with an Oakland loss -- would allow the Chiefs to leapfrog the Raiders for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Nobody should confuse the Chiefs for being a high-flying offense, but Travis Kelce has taken a big step forward with 100-plus yards in five of six games and Tyreek Hill can definitely change the game any time he touches the ball.

With Melvin Gordon sitting out the finale (and Kenneth Farrow placed on IR), the Chargers will rely on Ronnie Hillman and Andre Williams at running back. In other words, that will allow the Chiefs defense to tee up on Philip Rivers as San Diego should struggle to move the ball on the ground. While Rivers has eight consecutive games with multiple pass TDs, he's thrown 15 interceptions over the past half-season as well.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.5 over Carolina Panthers (3 Units)

While the calendar has technically turned to 2017, the Panthers are ready to put this (last) year behind them and begin their offseason. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers will try to close the season out with a bang even if their playoff hopes require a near miracle. If the Bucs win this game, it will be their first winning season since LeGarrette Blount reached the 1,000-yard milestone for them as a rookie in 2010. Given how their seasons have gone, I expect the Bucs to take care of business at home on Sunday and enter the offseason with some positive momentum.

Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions, Over 50.0 (3 Units)

It's a win-and-in regular-season finale for the Packers and Lions. Ultimately, I expect the Packers to win this game, but I think both offenses will be able to move the ball. In their Week 3 matchup at Lambeau, these two teams combined for 61 points as Green Bay won that game, 34-27.

Despite any early-season questions about the offense, Aaron Rodgers is playing MVP-caliber football and Green Bay has scored 30-plus points in three consecutive games. Over his past six games, Rodgers has completed nearly 70 percent of his pass attempts for 8.5 Y/A with 14 (passing) touchdowns and no interceptions.

Earlier this season, Matthew Stafford threw for 385 yards and three touchdowns against Green Bay, who has allowed a league-high 8.0 Y/A this season. And only the Browns have surrendered more passing touchdowns than the Packers (30).

Arizona Cardinals -6.5 over Los Angeles Rams (2 Units)

While the Rams have moved on from Jeff Fisher, he was right about this team not going 7-9. A surprising 3-1 start has been followed up by 10 losses in 11 games.

This game features a second-year running back that would be in the MVP mix if it weren't for a poor team record. Of course, I'm not referring to Todd Gurley, the 10th-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Instead, I'm talking about David Johnson, who has reached the 100-yard mark in all 15 games this season. (As a comparison, Gurley has yet to reach 100 yards in any game this year.)

Clearly, it's been a disappointing season for the Cardinals, who were a game away from the Super Bowl last year. And even though a win over Los Angeles may be a small consolation prize, it would allow the Cardinals to go into the offseason on a positive note.

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Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Trifone)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 17 NFL picks against the spread:

Chicago Bears +6.5 over Minnesota Vikings (5 Units)

In a meaningless game from a playoff perspective, both teams will still have individuals looking to show off talent. The Bears have been surprisingly competitive of late while the Vikings have been a pretty big disappointment. An outright Chicago win would not surprise me so I'll definitely take the points.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 17 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.5 over Carolina Panthers (4 Units)

Cam Newton will probably play, at least some in this game. But the Panthers look like a team ready for next year. After a 15-1 Super Bowl season last year, I don't think they much care if they finish 7-9 or 6-10 at this point. The Bucs need a miracle to get into the playoffs but I think they look to finish the season strong at home and I like them to take care of business this week.

New Orleans Saints +8 over Atlanta Falcons (5 Units)

While this game has no playoff implications for the Saints, they still have some individual numbers to hit, and I expect all the starters to play. It's still a division game and the Saints can still play the role of spoiler for the Falcons seeding. I like a shootout, and eight points just seems like too much to me. I'll take the Saints here.

Seattle Seahawks -9 over San Francisco 49ers (3 Units)

The Seahawks still have a chance to finish as the two seed, and home-field advantage may not mean more to any other team. The 49ers have been bad all year, and it anything, a loss may help them get the first pick in the draft, depending on the outcome of the Browns game. I like Seattle to roll and cover the nine.

Denver Broncos -1.5 over Oakland Raiders (4 Units)

I just don't think you can lose your quarterback having an MVP-caliber season and pick up where you left off. Both Trevor Semien and Paxton Lynch will get some run this game and both will be looking to prove they belong as an NFL starter. I'll take Denver to win this one.

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December 31, 2016

Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Yanotchko)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 17 NFL picks against the spread:

Miami Dolphins +9.5 over New England Patriots (4 Units)

Happy New Year to all, and as always, Week 17 gives us divisional matchups, but most of the playoff questions have already been answered. The Patriots will either be the No. 1 or 2 seed, so I really think with Tom Brady and Malcolm Mitchell hobbled, you will see the starters exit the game in the 3rd quarter. The Dolphins have been the Patriots kryptonite at home, as the Patriots are 0-4 against the number in their last four trips to Miami. I think the Patriots will win this game, but winning by 9.5 will be a tall order on the road.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 17 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Denver Broncos -1.5 over Oakland Raiders (5 Units)

This is a series that the Raiders have had the best of in the last few years, but I think Denver will rise up and play this one hard for pride. The Raiders were dealt a stunning loss in losing quarterback Derek Carr to a broken leg last week. The Raiders will enter this game with backup Matt McGloin facing the league's best passing defense that only gives up 187 yards per game. The Broncos have also been great against the number in recent history as well, as they have gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. The Broncos will load up the box, so they won't be gashed as bad as they were by the Raiders earlier this year, and I will give the points here.

Detroit Lions +3.5 over Green Bay Packers (3 Units)

This is definitely the marquee game of the week, as the winner guarantees their ticket to the playoffs. The Packers have been on a roll as of late, and Aaron Rodgers is just one game shy of his prediction to run the table. I really like the Lions at home though, due to the fact that they get a Packers passing defense that gives up 265 yards passing per game, and 30 touchdowns on the year. Both of these defenses will have problems stopping the pass, and I have a feeling that the last team to get the ball will win this game. As a berth in the postseason is on the line, I suspect this one will be close, and give me the home 'dog here, even though I think Green Bay will win.

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Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): DraftKings Tournament "Draft" for Week 17

Sean Beazley and I collaborated recently on putting together a tournament lineup for DraftKings main slate (Sunday games only) of Week 17 games.

Essentially, it was a draft with each of us alternating picks for the lineup. Sean had the first and odd-numbered picks; I had the second and even-numbered picks.

Below we will include analysis of each pick, but here is how the final roster shaped up:

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. GB), $6,000
RB - Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (at SF), $5,800
RB - Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CAR), $4,900
WR - Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (at SF), $7,200
WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. GB), $6,600
WR - Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (at DET), $5,700
TE - Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers (at DET), $3,100
FLEX - Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO), $8,400
DST - New York Jets (vs. BUF), $2,300

Below are the players in the order they were "drafted" (with comments by boths us):

1. Sean - Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks ($7,200): The Seahawks have one of the easiest matchups on the slate with a game vs. the 49ers. The Seahawks are one of the playoff teams with something to play for. With Tyler Lockett out for the rest of the year, Baldwin should get peppered with targets. He is very likely to be one of the highest-owned WRs this week, but I think he could 4-5x his price. I will have at least 30% exposure this week.

Comments by Kevin: Baldwin exploded for 13/171/1 on 19 targets against the Cardinals in Week 16. While he may not match last week's career-best numbers, the matchup against the 49ers is about as good as it gets and Baldwin had a nearly identical line (8/164/1) the first time he faced the Niners this season. In a week full of many meaningless games, the Seahawks can earn a first-round bye with a win and Falcons loss.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 17 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

2. Kevin - Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,900): One of my favorite plays of the week, as noted in our Week 17 DFS Roundtable post, Rodgers is set up for a massive workload. Not only is Doug Martin (four-game suspension) out again, but Charles Sims was placed on IR this week. Earlier in the year, Rodgers had 35 touches against the Panthers when both Martin and Sims were out. While I don't expect 35 touches, it's possible that 'Quizz sees in the neighborhood of 25 touches as home favorites and one of seven teams projected to score 25-plus points based on implied totals from Vegas odds.

Comments by Sean: When Doug Martin and Charles Sims were out earlier this year, we saw Rodgers get around 30 touches per game. Carolina has absolutely nothing to play for here, and while the Bucs are pretty much drawing dead, they do have a shot so they will be all over this one. Rodgers, like Baldwin, will be popular I believe, but he should pay off his price given the volume.

3. Sean - Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions ($6,000): The Lions/Packers game is the chalk game to stack this week. It's a winner-take-all, and it's the prime time hammer. Taking Stafford over Aaron Rodgers gets you almost $2K of savings, which I think is significant given I think each QB has the same ceiling.

Comments by Kevin: Playing in the final game of the week (and regular season), Stafford and the Lions are small home underdogs against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in a win-and-in matchup. Speaking of matchups, it's good for Stafford as the Packers have allowed an NFL-high 8.0 yards per pass attempt and only the Browns (33) have allowed more passing touchdowns than the Packers (30). Earlier this season, Stafford threw for 385 yards and three touchdowns against Green Bay.

4. Kevin - Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions ($6,600): With a minimum of five catches in nine of his past 10 games, Tate has averaged 6.8/86.6 on 9.4 targets per game over that stretch. Not only should he see steady volume in a fantasy-friendly matchup (only Titans allow more DK points to opposing WRs) with plenty of real football significance, but he has shown upside with four top-five PPR finishes during that 10-game span.

Comments by Sean: If I am playing Stafford, I am definitely pairing him with Tate. Tate has had double-digit targets in three of his last four. It wouldn't surprise me here to see Tate flirt with 10+ receptions in this one especially if the Lions are playing from behind. My only fear here is the Lions get ahead and control the clock like they did vs. the Saints earlier this year. I won't have all my eggs into this game like I did that one.

5. Sean - Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers ($5,700): Jordy Nelson will likely be the highest-owned WR of the week. He is off a monster game so you have the recency bias, plus he is in a killer spot vs. the Lions. Jordy should see a majority of Darius Slay which is why I am going heavy Adams. Slay isn't a shut-down corner by any means, but Rodgers isn't afraid to spread the ball around. Adams has 30-point upside and should be 15-20% less owned than Jordy.

Comments by Kevin: With more from the running game these days, Adams now has six consecutive games with five or fewer receptions. That said, Adams has four 100-yard games in his past 10 and a total of 10 scores this season. Given how often Aaron Rodgers looks his way in the red zone, Adams has enormous upside and should be much less-owned than Jordy this week.

6. Kevin - Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks ($5,800): If you started Rawls in DFS or season-long leagues last week, he let you down even before he departed with a shoulder injury. Rawls will be good to go in Week 17 and the matchup means that Rawls could turn even a reduced workload into 100 yards and a score or two. Rawls didn't play in the first matchup, but Christine Michael had 20/106/2 in that game for the Seahawks. Unless you're Todd Gurley, who doesn't run for 100 yards against the 49ers? The only concern here is a potential blowout early or the Falcons establish a big lead early over the Saints. Either scenario could keep Rawls on the sidelines in the third and/or fourth quarters.

Comments by Sean: I got burned by Rawls last week big time. I had a couple of lineups in the 190 range with Rawls as my lone bust. I am not afraid to go back to the well here. The 49ers get destroyed in every aspect of the game. The Seahawks should cruise in this one which should lead to plenty of Rawls touches late.

7. Sean - Jared Cook, TE, Green Bay Packers ($3,100): I think the TE lock of the week will be Travis Kelce. Kelce has dominated the position this season. Given our team is pretty much chalk spots/players, I am going a little off the board here with Cook. Pairing Adams/Cook and fading Jordy could be extremely profitable if Rodgers has a big game. The Lions have been better vs. TE lately, but at one point this year you were just locking in opposing TEs vs. them.

Comments by Kevin: Cook is the boom-or-bust type play that makes sense for GPPs. Typically I roster him in his "bust" weeks, however, so I typically have limited exposure. Given the matchup, this has the potential to be one of his "boom" weeks.

8. Kevin - Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons ($8,400): Active after a two-game absence, Jones had a mediocre 4/60 on seven targets in a 17-point win last week. Putting in a full practice on Friday, Jones should be more involved in a potential shootout against Drew Brees and the Saints. No team is projected to score more points this week than the Falcons and Jones has GPP-winning upside when healthy.

Comments by Sean: Another player that burned me last week was Jones. For whatever reason, the Falcons just don't look to Julio in the red zone, which means his production is basically reliant on long pass plays. Atlanta still has a shot at the No. 2 seed so It's pedal to the medal for the Falcons. I think the Ryan/Julio stack will be very low-owned even with a great matchup vs. the Saints.

9. Kevin - New York Jets DST ($2,300): The Jets have been a massive disappointment this season, but there is reason for some Week 17 optimism. That reason, of course, is E.J. Manuel. With Tyrod Taylor on the bench, the Bills will roll out the former first-round bust out of Florida State on Sunday. At their price point, I'm willing to roll the dice on the Jets defense this week.

Comments by Sean: There are a lot of defenses I like this week. One of those defenses for GPPs is the Jets. You get them at 1K savings off the rest of the ones I like, and they get a good matchup vs. E.J. Manuel, who will probably be rusty. This is a GPP play only as the Jets have been destroyed in recent weeks.

Week 17 Fantasy Football Rankings:

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December 29, 2016

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Plays for Week 17

Every week of the 2016 NFL season, our contributors will provide their favorite DraftKings play of the week and share their thoughts in our weekly DFS Round Table post.

In some cases, the play is intended for tournaments (i.e., Guaranteed Prize Pools or GPPs); in other cases, it's for cash games (e.g., head-to-heads and 50-50's). Or both.

Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 17?

Kevin Hanson: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Carolina Panthers ($4,900)

The great (and not-so-great) thing about Week 17 is that it's more difficult to figure out than any other week on the year. That said, there should be an abundance of value plays by the time Sunday rolls around. During other weeks, there are some value plays become extremely chalky.

Following a surprise inactive status for Doug Martin, Rodgers led the team in both usage and production -- 15/63/1 rushing and 2/15 receiving -- in Week 16. With Martin now suspended four games and set to be inactive on game day, Rodgers will dominate early-down work with Charles Sims assuming a change-of-pace role.

Not only are the Bucs six-point home favorites this weekend, but only the Falcons and Patriots are projected to score more points based on implied totals using Vegas odds. Rodgers won't get the 35 touches he had in his first matchup against the Panthers in Week 5 (with Martin/Sims out), but I could see 20-plus touches this week.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 17 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Sean Beazley: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers ($5,500) and DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans ($6,500)

Week 17 is a tricky week to play because of all the meaningless games for playoff teams. It is important to keep track of all the news before 1 PM. These picks are purely speculation at this point, because they are from two playoff teams who have nothing to gain from a win on Sunday.

DeAngelo Williams ($5,500) -- Mike Tomlin has said that Le'Veon Bell is a candidate for rest on Sunday, and it makes complete sense to me that he sits. We just saw the Raiders Super Bowl dreams crumble last week when Derek Carr broke his leg. An injury to Bell would clearly hurt the Steelers chances to push forward in the playoffs.

We have seen what DeAngelo has done in the past as the lead back. He gets a dream matchup at home against our favorite punching bag defense, the Cleveland Browns. If Bell is out Sunday, I will be locking DeAngelo in on nearly 100 percent of my tournament teams. His price is far too low to what we can expect him to score.

DeAndre Hopkins ($6,500) -- Had Randy Bullock made that kick Sunday night, I would have been 100% Hopkins this week in a winner-take-all matchup vs. the Titans. The Texans have the division wrapped up, so I do think there will be some key players resting like Lamar Miller. I do think Nuk plays though, because the Texans really need to get this passing attack figured out before the playoffs start. This is the perfect spot to iron out the kinks versus the Titans, who get torched by opposing WRs.

John Trifone: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers ($7,700)

Week 17 has a lot of uncertainty right now. We're still waiting to find out who exactly will be resting, who will be taking a look at rookies, who may start the game but not finish, etc. Some we know, much we will find out later in the week. At this point, I think Aaron Rodgers is as safe a bet to give you a great floor and high ceiling. He's expensive, but you know what you're getting with Rodgers and the Green Bay offense. They need to win at Detroit to clinch the division, and the Lions pass defense has been the worst or among the worst most of the year. I think Rodgers is worth the hefty price tag this week.

Dan Yanotchko: Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions ($6,600)

This week you have to take guys that have something to play for, so I like Golden Tate of the Lions. He has a great last-four split with 378 yards on 34 receptions on 40 targets. The Packers give up a ton of passing yards per game with 265 and 30 touchdowns to boot. I look for a shootout in the dome, with the winner going to the playoffs.

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December 24, 2016

Week 16 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Hanson)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 16 NFL picks against the spread:

Green Bay Packers -7 over Minnesota Vikings (4 Units)

One of the hotter teams in the NFL at the moment, Aaron Rodgers has played himself into MVP discussion. Historically, Rodgers has been dominant at home in December. In his past 12 December home games, the Packers are 12-0 and Rodgers has compiled a 30:2 TD-INT ratio in those games.

Meanwhile, Ty Montgomery has given them production on the ground as he's coming off a 16/162/2 performance in Week 15. The Vikings defense has been less stellar more recently as they have allowed 4.52 yards per carry (eighth-most in the NFL) from Weeks 8 to 15 after holding their opponents to just 3.74 YPC (26th) in Weeks 1 to 7.

Minnesota's offense has had their challenges as well and Adrian Peterson won't play this week after returning to the field in Week 15. With the ability to control their own destiny if they win out, I like Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau to take care of business.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 16 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

New York Jets +17 over New England Patriots (2 Units)

Clearly the Patriots are better than the Jets. A LOT better than the Jets. And this game could easily turn into a blowout. That said, 17 points to any team is a lot. Even though I expect the Patriots to win easily, I think the Jets get the cover.

Pittsburgh Steelers -6 over Baltimore Ravens (3 Units)

One of the better modern-day rivalries, this is typically a hard-fought battle. Given how Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers play at home (vs. the road), I think the Steelers are able to score a lot of points in this one. On the other hand, the Ravens have a lot of question marks outside of their elite run defense. That said, Le'Veon Bell is outstanding as a receiver out of the backfield so even if he's slowed somewhat as a runner, he should have a major impact as a receiver.

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Week 16 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Yanotchko)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 16 NFL picks against the spread:

San Diego Chargers -4.5 over Cleveland Browns (4 Units)

I think this one is almost too good to be true, but looking at this Cleveland defense I can't justify them hanging close with the Chargers. The Browns have been historically bad this year, and this is probably their best shot to win a game as they have Pittsburgh to finish up the season. The Browns just can't stop anyone as they allow 155 yards rushing per game and 4.8 yards per carry, and they allow opposing passers 245 yards per game and 31 touchdowns. I just think the Chargers have too much for them, and also RG3 looked really bad in his return. I just don't think the Browns will win a game all year, and San Diego should easily win big here.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 16 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Los Angeles Rams -4.5 over San Francisco 49ers (3 Units)

I know the history trend is always to take the 49ers anytime they are playing the Rams, but this week for the Rams at home will be different, as the 49ers are playing some really awful ball right now. The 49ers have one of the worst rushing defenses in memory, as they allow 176 yards rushing per game, and also 5.0 yards per carry. I think the Rams game plan will be to run Todd Gurley about 600 times this game, as they might not even let Jared Goff attempt a pass. I also like the ability of the Rams front four to get pressure on Colin Kaepernick, and they will be able to bottle up Carlos Hyde. In a game that is unwatchable, I like for Gurley to have his breakout game for the fantasy championships.

Detroit Lions +6 over Detroit Lions (4 Units)

I think this game is pretty simple, as Dallas has nothing to play for, and the Lions have everything to play for. The Cowboys have home field throughout the playoffs sewn up, and I think this will be a rotation game where Ezekiel Elliot will see a lot less touches. The Lions have traditionally had good luck against the Cowboys, as they have gone 4-1 against the spread in their last five. The main reason I like Detroit, is that they can attack a weak Dallas pass defense that allows 265 yards passing per game, a 68% completion percentage, and 23 passing touchdowns on the year. We all know the Lions are the king of the comeback this year, and they will certainly be within a touchdown of the Cowboys.

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Week 16 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Beazley)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 16 NFL picks against the spread:

Pittsburgh Steelers -6 over Baltimore Ravens (5 Units)

Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown at home? Yes please! The Ravens defense is good, but Ben rolls at home. This game is for the AFC North crown, and I think the Steelers lay the smack down on the Ravens. Ben has a four-TD game in the win. Steelers 37, Ravens 20.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 16 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

New Orleans Saints -3 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5 Units), Over 52.0 (4 units)

I'll take Drew Brees and the Saints at home vs. the Bucs in this one. I believe Brees and the Saints offense has a monster game. I like the over in this one as well. I like the Bucs to keep pace. I like Mike Evans/Cameron Brate for DFS. Saints 37, Bucs 30.

Houston Texans -1.5 over Cincinnati Bengals (5 Units)

Houston technically doesn't need a win here to win the division, but a win gives them some outs just in case they lose to Tennessee next week. I like that Tom Savage is starting this week and I think he gets DeAndre Hopkins the ball a lot. The Bengals have nothing to play for at this point but possibly Marvin Lewis’s job. I think they fall short here. Texans 24, Bengals 21.

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Week 16 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Trifone)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 16 NFL picks against the spread:

Washington Redskins -3 over Chicago Bears (4 Units)

The Redskins had an opportunity this past weekend at home vs. Carolina that they let slip away. I don't think that happens again this weekend as they travel to Chicago. I like Kirk Cousins to have a big game and Washington to win this one pretty handily.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 16 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Carolina Panthers +3 over Atlanta Falcons (4 Units)

The Falcons are clearly better than I've given them credit for all year, but I think they get beat by the Panthers on the road this week. Carolina has blown a lot of games late this year but are clearly better than their record would indicate. I think they play well again this week against their division rival and finish the season strong.

Minnesota Vikings +7 over Green Bay Packers (4 Units)

The Packers have been awesome of late, and Aaron Rodgers has been terrific. They have gotten back into the division hunt and now control their own destiny to win the NFC North, which I think they'll do. Minnesota has fallen off, but they will be looking to bounce back from an absolutely embarrassing loss to the Colts at home last week. Packers win the game but seven is too many points.

Indianapolis Colts +3.5 over Oakland Raiders (5 Units)

The Colts are coming off one of their best games of the year, going into Minnesota and winning easily. Cold December weather may slow down Andrew Luck and the Colt offense at some point, but that won't be the case this week in Oakland. Two high-powered offenses should give us a high-scoring affair here. I'll take the Colts with the outright upset so I'll take the 3.5.

New York Jets +17 over New England Patriots (4 Units)

This is just way too big of a spread. The perception of the Jets is just so low, but they still have guys looking to make a roster next year and they're not just going to roll over against the Patriots. This game is the last real meaningful game they will play this season because it's against their hated rival. The Patriots should win easily, but too many ways this one plays out that end within 17 points. I like the Jets side.

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Philip Rivers is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Tom Brady and Rivers, you should start Brady -- and in turn, bench Rivers.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 16 Fantasy Football QB Start'em

QB - Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at CLE)

Reaching the 300-yard mark in only one of his past seven games, Rivers has also failed to finish as a top-12 weekly quarterback in nine consecutive games. And while he has thrown multiple touchdowns in seven straight with a total of 16 during that span, he has also been a turnover machine with 14 interceptions in those seven games.

There is reason for optimism in Championship Week, however, as Rivers and the Chargers head to Cleveland to face the winless Browns. Not only have the Browns allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year, but no team has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in more games this season than Cleveland (11).

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. IND)

With back-to-back disappointing performances, Carr completed just 17-of-41 for 117 yards and no touchdowns in Week 14 and 19-of-30 for 213 yards and a score in Week 15. In what is expected to be a shootout against Andrew Luck and the Colts, Carr should have a have a bounce-back performance in Week 16. In fact, the Raiders are projected to score the second-most points this week based on implied totals from Vegas odds.

Meanwhile, the Colts have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. And that's after allowing just one passing touchdown to five passes intercepted over their past three games. Of course, that dominance is primarily due to the matchups against the likes of Bryce Petty, Brock Osweiler and Sam Bradford.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 16 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (at CHI)

Second in the NFL to only Drew Brees, Cousins is averaging 311.4 passing yards per game and has seven 300-yard games this season. With the exception of Week 5 against the Ravens, Cousins has either thrown for 300-plus yards and/or accounted for multiple touchdowns. Due to that consistency, Cousins has finished as a top-12 weekly fantasy quarterback in seven of his past eight games.

Week 16 Fantasy Football QB Sit'em

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA)

The good news is that Palmer has thrown for 300-plus yards in two of his past three games and multiple touchdowns in five consecutive games. In fact, he has finished as a top-three weekly quarterback in both of those 300-yard games.

That said, Palmer and the Cardinals head to Seattle this week to take on the Seahawks, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Even without Earl Thomas, it's a difficult matchup, especially on the road at CenturyLink. In fact, only the Jets and Broncos are projected to score fewer points this week than the Cardinals.

QB - Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (at HOU)

The good news is that Dalton gets back A.J. Green this week. The bad news is that it is unclear what we should expect from AJG and Dalton will miss Tyler Eifert, one of the league's best tight ends and red-zone weapons. In addition, the Texans have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the position, which makes Dalton a poor streaming option this week.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at DAL)

Scoring the eighth-most fantasy points through Week 15, Stafford has been up-and-down this season. While Stafford has seven top-10 weekly performances, he has also finished as the QB20 or worse in five games this season including three of his past five. During that five-game span, Stafford has thrown for multiple touchdowns in just one game with a total of only four passing touchdowns over that stretch. Only five teams are projected to score fewer points than the Lions this week.

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Bilal Powell is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned DeMarco Murray, Le'Veon Bell and Powell and can only start two running backs, you should start Bell and Murray -- and in turn, bench Powell.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 16 Fantasy Football RB Start'em

RB - Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (vs. SF)

A few players -- DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson, etc. -- could earn the dubious honor as well, but Gurley has arguably been the biggest first-round fantasy football bust of the 2016 season.

Despite the high cost on draft day, there has been little to show for it. With double-digit fantasy points in only four of 14 games, Gurley has yet to exceed 85 rushing yards any week and has averaged just 55.6 per game on the season.

If you somehow advanced to Week 16 with Gurley as your first-round pick, the good news is that he could finally deliver for his owners with a soft matchup against the 49ers. San Francisco has allowed the most fantasy points to the position and 5.11 yards per carry and 22 touchdowns to the position, both of which are league highs.

Even worse (or better from Gurley's standpoint), the 49ers have allowed a 100-yard rusher in 11 of their past 13 games. Stated differently, the 49ers have allowed 12.94 percent (11 of 85) of the 100-yard rushing games this season.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 16 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

RB - Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears (vs. WAS)

In a season where little has gone right for the Bears, Howard has been a bright spot. Heading into Championship Week, the ex-Hoosier has racked up the seventh-most yards from scrimmage (1,348) and has been even better more recently.

Since Week 8, Howard has a minimum of 15 touches and 99 YFS in seven straight games. During that seven-game span, Howard ranks fourth in the NFL in touches (152) and YFS (868).

Granted, the Bears are home underdogs this week, but Howard has a plus matchup. Washington has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. In addition, only three teams have allowed more yards per carry (4.52) and combined touchdowns (18) to running backs this season.

RB - Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (vs. IND)

In the 12 games he has played, Murray has finished outside the top-30 fantasy running backs in only one game (RB52 in Week 4 at Baltimore). So, in other words, Murray has a minimum of seven fantasy points in 11 of 12 games this season.

Finishing as the RB30 last week, Murray should bounce back in a plus matchup against the Colts. Not only have the Colts allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, but only the Patriots are projected to score more points this week than the Raiders. It wouldn't surprise me if Murray, who has averaged a rushing score per game this season, found the end zone once again.

RB - Bilal Powell, New York Jets (at NE)

With Matt Forte (knee) active last week, Powell once again dominated touches. In his past two games, Powell now has 61 total touches -- 45/229/2 rushing and 16/112 receiving.

Even though the Jets are 17-point underdogs and projected to be the lowest-scoring team of the week, according to implied totals from Vegas odds, Powell should be heavily involved in the passing game and get 20-plus touches once again as Forte is listed as doubtful for Saturday's game.

Week 16 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em

RB - Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT)

One week after carrying it twice for just two yards, West erupted for 77 yards on 13 carries and added four catches for 45 yards against the Eagles in Week 15. The 122 yards from scrimmage and 17 touches were five-week highs.

It's possible that he has another productive game, but it's difficult to know whether West or Kenneth Dixon will get the larger share of the workload and we've seen the Ravens abandon the run even in games where they are successfully running the ball. Therefore, West and Dixon are both flex options as opposed to RB2 starts.

RB - Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)

Since returning from injury, Coleman has scored three touchdowns in four games. That said, he has averaged just 3.62 yards per carry and 5.2 yards per reception over that four-game span. Meanwhile, the Panthers have allowed the third-lowest yards per carry (3.58) to opposing running backs this season and Coleman had just 19 yards on eight carries earlier this season against Carolina.

RB - Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos (at KC)

In two games with the Broncos, Justin Forsett has nine and 14 touches, respectively. Meanwhile, Booker has just five and eight touches in those same games and has failed to finish as a top-50 fantasy running back in both games. Before Forsett was signed, Booker had averaged 20.5 touches over a six-game span including 25 the first time against the Chiefs. Forsett is a solid flex option and Booker is completely off the fantasy radar.

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Dontrelle Inman is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Jordy Nelson, T.Y. Hilton and Inman and can only start two receivers, you should start Jordy and Hilton -- and in turn, bench Inman.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 16 Fantasy Football WR Start'em

WR - Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)

Whether you call him a running back or a wide receiver, Montgomery is worth a start. It would be unreasonable to expect another 16/162/2 rushing performance, but more than reasonable to expect double-digit touches and a productive outing for a third consecutive game.

As far as the matchup goes, the Vikings have been much worse against the run over the past half-season or so than they were at the beginning of the year. From Weeks 1 to 7, the Vikings allowed 3.74 yards per carry (26th-most) and no running back exceeded 56 rushing yards. From Weeks 8 to 15, they have allowed 4.52 YPC (eighth-most) and six running backs have at least 70 rushing yards against them.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 16 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

WR - DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (at JAX)

Hopkins has just one 100-yard game this season and it was all the way back in Week 2. In addition, the matchup this week is challenging as the Jaguars have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. That said, the quarterback change to Tom Savage gives the passing offense a shot in the arm and a reason for Hopkins owners to be optimistic. Last week, Savage peppered Hopkins with targets and Nuk finished with eight catches for 87 yards on 17 targets.

WR - Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers (at CLE)

Inman has a minimum of 43 yards in eight consecutive games, but he has averaged 4.6 receptions and 67.0 yards per game over that span. While his streak of games with a touchdown ended last week at three, Inman and the Chargers receivers get a plus matchup against the winless Browns. The Browns have allowed 14.01 Y/R and 10.76-percent touchdown rate, both of which are fourth-most, to opposing receivers this year.

WR - Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (vs. NYJ)

During the team's past five games, Tom Brady has targeted Edelman a minimum of 11 times in every game for an average of 13.4 per game over that span. That has allowed Edelman to post consistent receiving numbers -- a minimum of six catches and 73 yards in six consecutive games.

In their first matchup in Week 12, Edelman had eight catches for 83 yards on 11 targets. Not only have the Jets allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, but no team is projected to score more points this week based on implied totals from Vegas odds.

Week 16 Fantasy Football WR Sit'em

WR - Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)

With only one target last week, Cobb put up a goose egg against the Bears. Over his past seven games, he has only one game with more than 41 receiving yards and has averaged 3.0/31.7/0.3 on 4.1 targets per game during that span. At this point, Cobb is only the fourth-best wide receiver option on his own team after Jordy Nelson, Ty Montgomery and Davante Adams.

WR - DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (at BUF)

It's been an up-and-down (mostly down) season for Parker. The second-year receiver has a total of just six catches for 65 yards on 10 targets in his past three games combined. Even though Matt Moore threw four touchdowns last week, he threw only 18 pass attempts. Given the lack of volume and production recently, Parker isn't anything more than a low-floor, TD-dependent WR4.

WR - Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns (vs. SD)

In two starts by RG3 in Weeks 14 and 15, Pryor has one catch for three yards and four catches for 19 yards, respectively. Obviously, fantasy owners were hoping for more. Not only have the Chargers allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to receivers this season, but I'd expect Casey Hayward to also shadow Pryor as well. In addition, Pryor will need surgery this offseason for a torn ligament in his finger.

WR - Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (at NE)

The good news? Marshall ended an eight-game streak of single-digit targets with 11 in Week 15. The bad news? He converted that volume into one catch for 16 yards. With Bryce Petty (still) under center, I'd (still) prefer Robbie Anderson over Marshall among the Jets wide receivers. With a league-low implied total of 13.5 points this week, however, the Jets could struggle to generate much offense on Saturday.

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Week 16 Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Kyle Rudolph is listed below as a "start" for Week 16. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 16 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Greg Olsen and Rudolph, you should start Olsen -- and in turn, bench Rudolph.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 16 Fantasy Football TE Start'em

TE - Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (at GB)

Over his past four games, Rudolph has three games with double-digit targets and a minimum of eight during that span. That volume has led to a total of 27 catches for 266 yards and a touchdown over the past quarter season. In a favorable matchup against the Packers, who have allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, I would expect another high-usage and productive game from Rudolph.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 16 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at CLE)

With two weeks to go in the season (and likely his career), Gates is two touchdowns behind Tony Gonzalez for the most-ever by a tight end. Not only could Philip Rivers look to force an end-zone target or two into Gates' direction, the Browns have been atrocious when defending tight ends. No team has allowed more fantasy points to the position and only the Lions have surrendered more touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year.

TE - Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NO)

Speaking of tight end touchdowns, Brate has scored a touchdown in five of his past eight games. During that eight-game span, Brate has a total of 36 catches for 422 yards and five touchdowns and he's a strong TE1 for Week 16. Start him with confidence.

Week 16 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em

TE - Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT)

Pitta had a breakout performance in Week 13 with 9/90/2 on 11 targets against the Dolphins. For much of the season, Pitta has been heavily-targeted although the fantasy production didn't match. Over his past two games, however, Pitta has just 4/18 on five targets and 2/16 on two targets. Pitta should remain on your bench this week as he had just 2/14 on three targets against Pittsburgh earlier this season.

TE - Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)

One of the most inconsistent tight ends in the NFL, Cook is coming off a 6/85 performance against the Bears and a top-seven weekly outing. Since returning from a multi-week absence, Cook has finished as the weekly TE1, TE51, TE28, TE37 and TE7, respectively. Stated differently, he has 85-plus yards in two of those games and less than 20 yards in the other three.

TE - Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns (vs. SD)

Barnidge had a seven-game streak with at least 37 receiving yards from Weeks 2 to 8, but since then, he has failed to exceed 35 yards in any game. Over his past six games, Barnidge has averaged just 3.11 fantasy points per game.

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December 23, 2016

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): DraftKings Tournament "Draft" for Week 16

Sean Beazley and I collaborated recently on putting together a tournament lineup for DraftKings main slate (Sunday games only) of Week 16 games.

Essentially, it was a draft with each of us alternating picks for the lineup. Sean had the first and odd-numbered picks; I had the second and even-numbered picks.

Below we will include analysis of each pick, but here is how the final roster shaped up:

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. IND), $6,800
RB - Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (vs. SF), $6,500
RB - Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (at BUF), $5,600
WR - Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NO), $8,500
WR - DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (vs. CIN), $5,200
WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (vs. IND), $6,100
TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at CLE), $4,400
FLEX - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. TEN), $4,600
DST - Chicago Bears (vs. WAS), $2,300

Below are the players in the order they were "drafted" (with comments by boths us):

1. Sean - Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($8,500): Evans has been held to single-digit scores the past three weeks, and one of those games was versus this same Saints defense. I think he is in a great position for a bounce-back spot in a game which is expected to be very high-scoring. My only concern here is ownership. Le'Veon Bell is not on this slate, and David Johnson has a tough matchup on paper vs. Seattle on the road. This could lead to the reverse of what we have seen the past few weeks where it was popular to jam in high-priced RBs.

Comments by Kevin: Evans has three disappointing performances in a row, but we have have seen him have monster games with huge target totals. With OBJ/AB not playing on the Sunday main slate and Julio/AJG coming back from injuries, Evans is the top main-slate WR by a considerable margin for me.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 16 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

2. Kevin - Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams ($6,500): Not only have the 49ers allowed the most fantasy points to the position, but running backs have averaged 5.11 YPC with 22 rushing scores, both of which are season highs (by a wide margin). In addition, the 49ers have allowed 11 100-yard rushers on the year plus two more had at least 100 yards from scrimmage. Gurley has yet to exceed 85 rushing yards in any game and he's averaging just 55.6 per game this season, but it wouldn't surprise me if he exceeded the 100-yard mark with a few receptions and perhaps a touchdown on Saturday.

Comments by Sean: You know a defense is bad vs. the run when a RB is coming off a four-point week and his price increases $2,000! There is no reason to get cute here. Jam Gurley in your lineup and watch the point totals rise.

3. Sean - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans ($5,200): I am more excited for a Week 17 showing in a potential winner-take-all game vs. the Titans secondary. I would be 100% locked in with Hopkins at anything below $7,000 next week. I would hope that he would have a bad game here vs. the Bengals, so people wouldn't jump on board with me, but at this price, you can't overlook him this week. Hopkins had 17 targets last week in a comeback win vs. Jacksonville. Tom Savage is the new QB and he looked ten times better than Brock Osweiler. I think the QB play makes the difference here and Nuk has a massive day.

Comments by Kevin: The QB switch gives Hopkins owners some reason for optimism and the high volume of targets last week (17) is a huge positive as well. At his price point, he's more than worth the gamble.

4. Kevin - Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers ($4,400): Gates has been up-and-down this season and was a disappointment last week. The Browns are terrible against tight ends as they have allowed the position a total of 72 catches (second-most in NFL), 782 yards (second-most) and eight TDs (second-most). I expect Philip Rivers to target Gates heavily in the red zone.

Comments by Sean: The touchdown Antonio Gates narrative. I was all aboard last week with 40% exposure in GPPs. There are a few TEs I like better that are cheaper than Gates this week so I probably won't have 40% this week, but I should have a decent amount again. Gates gets a great matchup vs. Cleveland who basically can't stop anything.

5. Sean - Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins ($5,600): This is a huge game in Buffalo this week. With a win Rex Ryan could potentially save his job. Miami needs to keep winning to secure a spot in the playoffs. Without Ryan Tannehill, I expect the Dolphins to let Ajayi shoulder the load. The Bills run defense has been shredded in recent weeks. We have seen the enormous upside that Ajayi has this season. I think Ajayi will be under owned this week in tournaments.

Comments by Kevin: Ajayi isn't one of the first players that I'd want to put in this lineup, but I think Sean makes some good points. He has shown upside, Buffalo has allowed some very big games to opposing running backs, Ajayi should get tons of usage and his ownership level should be low. He could turn out to be a perfect GPP play.

6. Kevin - Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders ($6,100): Crabtree has averaged 5.5/61.9/0.6 per game this season and he's averaging nearly double-digit targets (9.88/G) over his past eight. In an expected shootout, Crabtree has a ton of upside this week and could be the third among this game's wide receivers in terms of ownership after T.Y. Hilton and Amari Cooper. I will certainly stack this game in many of my GPP lineups.

Comments by Sean: Picking the right Raiders WR this year has been extremely difficult for me this season. Crabtree had outscored Cooper in 7/14 games this season. Split right down the middle. The Colts secondary is beatable. Vontae Davis is starting to look more and more like Darelle Revis each week. That's not a good thing. I will be hedging this week and playing probably equal shares of both Oakland wideouts.

7. Sean - Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,400): Andy Reid and the Chiefs didn't attack the Titans corners last week the way I thought he would. BLAKE Bortles is arguably the worst starting QB in the league, but this Titans secondary is very bad. Robinson continues to get peppered with targets each week and at his price tag of $4,600, it's very tough to pass on him in tournaments. I definitely will have my fair share of A-Rob this week.

Comments by Kevin: If you owned Robinson in season-long leagues, few players were bigger disappointments (although several in this lineup could give him a run for his money). There are three things to like this week, though: (1) his talent level, which has been true every week, (2) the matchup vs. TEN (32nd in FPA to WRs) and (3) the sub-$5,000 price. The potential to smash value is there even with Blake Bortles throwing him the ball.

8. Kevin - Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders ($6,800): After the Falcons, no team has averaged more points per game this season than the Raiders. Based on Vegas odds, only the Patriots are projected to score more points this week. Carr has plenty of upside in what should be a shootout against Andrew Luck and the Colts and pairs well with Crabtree. I will certainly have a lot of exposure to both QBs and all the key skill players in this game across my GPP lineups.

Comments by Sean: I didn't leave Kevin with much after the Robinson pick, so it was either punt QB or punt D. Kevin elected to punt D which is how I would have played it as well. Carr gets a great matchup vs. the Colts at home. The Colts are still in the playoff hunt, so they do have something to play for. This game is a great one to consider a game stack in GPPs this week.

9. Kevin - Chicago Bears DST ($2,300): The Bears may give up a fair amount of points to Washington, but due to their heavy pass volume, there will be opportunities for sacks/INTs and the Bears have actually scored double-digit fantasy points in two of their past three games.

Comments by Sean: Of the choices left, the Bears make the most sense. The Redskins are coming off a short week where they played like crap. All it takes is one Defense/Special Teams TD to really make this unit pay off.

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December 21, 2016

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Plays for Week 16

Every week of the 2016 NFL season, our contributors will provide their favorite DraftKings play of the week and share their thoughts in our weekly DFS Round Table post.

In some cases, the play is intended for tournaments (i.e., Guaranteed Prize Pools or GPPs); in other cases, it's for cash games (e.g., head-to-heads and 50-50's). Or both.

Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 16?

Kevin Hanson: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams ($6,500)

As disappointing as the season has been for Gurley, he has a great opportunity on Saturday. Even though Gurley struggled in Week 1 against the 49ers, no team has been more generous to opposing running backs this season.

Not only have the 49ers allowed the most fantasy points to the position, but running backs have averaged 5.11 YPC with 22 rushing scores, both of which are season highs (by a wide margin). In addition, the 49ers have allowed 11 100-yard rushers on the year plus two more had at least 100 yards from scrimmage.

Gurley has yet to exceed 85 rushing yards in any game and he's averaging just 55.6 per game this season, but it wouldn't surprise me if he exceeded the 100-yard mark with a few receptions and perhaps a touchdown on Saturday.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 16 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Brendan Donahue: Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets ($6,000)

In the past two games that Powell has taken over as the lead back for the Jets, he has scored 27.2 and 37.9 points on DraftKings. I don't see that role changing this week both due to the injury to Matt Forte and the game plan as 16-point underdogs to the Patriots. In a blowout loss last week, he caught 11 passes on 12 targets for 78 yards and that could very well be the same situation this week, giving him a very safe floor and a huge ceiling if he is able to put any of those targets into the end zone.

Sean Beazley: Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,000)

I think the Titans could be in for a let-down game after their big last-minute win vs. the Chiefs last week. I've been burned on the Jags call pretty much all year, but I'm not going to miss out on that one time they go off. I don't play high stakes often, but I'm rolling out Blake Bortles in the $50 Chop Block this week on DK. The Titans pass defense is awful, and I think this game could be a shootout. I’m on the fence about pairing him with Marqise Lee or Allen Robinson or just playing him naked. He is the stone minimum on DK which allows you to get pretty much whoever you want. I believe Bortles gets the 300-yard bonus and a couple of scores this week.

John Trifone: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams ($6,500)

It only took until Week 16, but it might be Todd Gurley's week this week. He's facing the 49ers 32nd-ranked rush defense at home after recently calling out his offense and contributing to getting Jeff Fisher fired. Gurley should be in for a heavy workload and should be able to put together his best game of the year. He's a good RB choice this week at $6,500.

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December 18, 2016

Week 15 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Hanson)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 15 NFL picks against the spread:

Atlanta Falcons -14 over San Francisco 49ers (3 Units)

The Falcons will be without Julio Jones on Sunday, but they should still be able to put up plenty of points with the 1-2 rushing attack of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. So far this season, the 49ers have allowed 170.8 rushing yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry, both of which rank dead last in the NFL. Despite the big number, I could easily see the Falcons winning this game by more than two scores at home.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 15 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

San Diego Chargers +3 over Oakland Raiders (3 Units)

Melvin Gordon has been such a focal point of the team's offense this season and he's going to miss this week's game, but I like the Chargers to at least keep this game close at home. Earlier this season, Philip Rivers completed 21-of-30 for 359 yards (11.97 Y/A) and four touchdowns in a three-point loss in Oakland. Rivers has too many interceptions this season and 13 of them in his past six games, but I like the Chargers getting points at home in a division game.

Arizona Cardinals -3 over New Orleans Saints (2 Units)

It's been a rough two-game stretch for Drew Brees, who has zero touchdowns and six interceptions in his past two games. While I don't expect another three-INT game this week, this is a difficult matchup on the road against the Cardinals. Meanwhile, David Johnson has been as consistently productive as any player in football this season with 13 consecutive games of 100-plus yards from scrimmage. The next closest player is Ezekiel Elliott (10 such games).

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Week 15 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Yanotchko)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 15 NFL picks against the spread:

Kansas City Chiefs -6 over Tennessee Titans (3 Units)

This is the week to separate the wheat from the chaff, and although I really love what Tennessee has done this year, I think showing up on the road at Arrowhead after an emotional win against Denver will be too much. The Chiefs have found a potent passing attack lately as Jeremy Maclin has returned to action with the recent discovery of Mr. All Purpose, Tyreek Hill. The Titans can certainly be exploited on the back end, as their secondary has given up 275 yards passing per game and 22 touchdowns on the year. I think the Chiefs just have too many weapons with Travis Kelce, Spencer Ware, Hill and Maclin so I really love KC at home in this one.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 15 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Oakland Raiders -3 over San Diego Chargers (3 Units)

This game is quite the rivalry, and sadly it could be one of the last times we can say that it's San Diego vs. Oakland, as in the coming years it could be Los Angeles vs. Las Vegas. The Chargers have great personnel, but they have just lost way too many games as a result of the injury bug, and emerging star Melvin Gordon is the most recent to join this list. The Raiders were embarrassed by the Chiefs last week on Thursday night, and I have the hunch that a team being embarrassed (and getting four extra days to prepare) will do well the next week. The Raiders will be able to move the ball against a Chargers secondary that allows 261 yards passing per game, and 18 touchdowns on the year. I think the loss of Gordon will be too much, and the Raiders need this game in the worst way.

New England Patriots -3 over Denver Broncos (4 Units)

I really think that this is the lowest spread that the Patriots have had this year since the return of Tom Brady this season. (Oh and by the way, according to the Giants/Steelers game two weeks ago the ideal gas law exists ... because of, you know, science.) I know that everyone thinks that Brady will be coming out and throwing the ball all over the field, but I really think that the game plan will be similar to the AFC title game against the Colts, which was to pound the ball on the ground. The Broncos can certainly be had on the ground, as they allow 127 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry, while having surrendered 12 touchdowns on the year. The Patriots will also be able to make the Broncos play one-dimensional, and force Trevor Siemian to beat them through the air, as they only allow 90.2 yards rushing per game. This will be revenge for last year's AFC title game, and I look for the Pats to keep on rolling.

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December 17, 2016

Week 15 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Trifone)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 15 NFL picks against the spread:

Baltimore Ravens -5.5 over Philadelphia Eagles (4 Units)

I've been picking on the Eagles for a while now and it's mostly worked out. They've been pretty bad since the hot start to the season. They'll be without playmaker Darren Sproles this weekend against what is already the league's best rush defense. The Ravens need to keep winning if they're going to edge out the Steelers for the division. I like them to bounce back after a tough loss at New England.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 15 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Indianapolis Colts +5 over Minnesota Vikings (3 Units)

Both teams are desperate for a win down the stretch and the Vikings are getting Adrian Peterson back this week. He's more of a big name than a real difference maker at this point though. The Colts are without wide receiver Donte Moncrief, but I think Andrew Luck keeps this one close anyway, and the Vikings offense is a pretty weak unit. I like a close game here, so I'll take the points.

San Diego Chargers +3 over Oakland Raiders (3 Units)

This is more of a number play, but a December division game with the home team getting points seems like a good spot to take. Although their records may indicate otherwise, these two teams aren't that far apart. The Chargers have had some tough losses and the division is just loaded this year, so someone has to come in last. I like the Chargers to get Antonio Gates involved in pursuit of the TE touchdown record, and like the Chargers for the outright upset.

- Note: All of our NFL picks against the spread will be centralized here.

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Week 15 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Tyrod Taylor is listed below as a "start" for Week 15. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 15 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Matt Ryan and Taylor, you should start Ryan -- and in turn, bench Taylor.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 15 Fantasy Football QB Start'em

QB - Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (vs. CAR)

Cousins has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in seven consecutive games with an average of 22.13 fantasy points per contest over that stretch. Going back to Week 2, Cousins has finished as a top-15 weekly quarterback in all but one game (Week 6 vs. the Eagles).

This week, Cousins is behind only Atlanta's Matt Ryan in my quarterback rankings. In addition, only the Falcons are projected to score more points this week than the Redskins (using Vegas odds).

On the season, Cousins is averaging 311.15 pass yards per game with 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Counting a pair of rushing touchdowns, he has accounted for multiple touchdowns in eight consecutive games.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 15 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (vs. CLE)

With a season-low two rushing yards last week, Taylor ended a streak of 11 consecutive games with a minimum of 25 rushing yards and an average of 41.6 per game over that 11-game span. In addition, Taylor had a rushing score in five of his previous six games.

While we shouldn't expect prolific passing statistics from Taylor (and Buffalo's run-heavy offense) in any given week, he gets a fantasy-friendly matchup against the league's most generous defense to opposing quarterbacks. In addition, improved health from Sammy Watkins is another positive for the outlook of his passing numbers.

As double-digit favorites, the Bills are projected to score the seventh-most points this week, according to Vegas odds. Given his favorable matchup and ability to make plays with his legs, Taylor is worth a start over some typical high-end QB1's with difficult matchups -- Tom Brady (at Broncos), Andrew Luck (at Vikings), etc.

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. NO)

Palmer hasn't played great, but he has multiple touchdowns in four consecutive games and five of his past six. During that stretch, he has thrown a total of 13 touchdowns to eight interceptions.

Not only do the Saints allow the 11th-most fantasy points to the position, but they will be without their best cornerback (Devin Breaux) this weekend as well. Among the teams left to play this week, only the Falcons and Redskins are projected to score more points than the Cardinals.

Week 15 Fantasy Football QB Sit'em

QB - Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN)

With a notable home-road split, Big Ben has averaged just 231.14 passing yards per game in his seven games away from Heinz Field this season with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Scoring single-digit fantasy points in four of those seven, he has averaged just 12.76 fantasy points on the road this year.

Meanwhile, the Bengals have allowed only two passing touchdowns in their past four games combined and no more than 13.26 fantasy points in any of those games. Roethlisberger is just outside of my top-12 fantasy quarterbacks for the week at No. 14.

QB - Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. DET)

Manning has now thrown for less than 200 yards in three consecutive games and in five of his past nine games. Over his past seven games, he has averaged just 214.57 yards per game.

While the Lions have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, they have been much better lately. They have not allowed a top-12 quarterback in any of their past six games and during that span, they have as many passes intercepted (seven) as they have allowed passing scores (seven).

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at NYG)

The other in this game has an even more difficult matchup. Only the Broncos have allowed fewer fantasy points this season than the Giants. When playing at home (or at a neutral site), the Giants have held all but one opposing quarterback to a QB20 (or worse) finish with the exception of Cousins in Week 3.

The Lions have won eight of nine and Stafford has a 15:3 TD-INT ratio in those games. Even though he has a pair of top-10 fantasy performances in consecutive games, this matchup is more difficult than his recent matchups and all but one of those past nine games were played in a dome -- six at home, at New Orleans and at Minnesota.

With a dislocated middle finger on his throwing hand, a more challenging matchup and playing outside of a controlled environment in December, there are enough reasons to downgrade Stafford and keep him on your bench this week.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 15

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Week 15 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Tevin Coleman is listed below as a "start" for Week 15. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 15 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Le'Veon Bell, DeMarco Murray and Coleman and can only start two running backs, you should start Bell and Murray -- and in turn, bench Coleman.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 15 Fantasy Football RB Start'em

RB - Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. MIA)

Dealing with a torn meniscus, Matt Forte may play on a short week against the Dolphins as he's considered to be a game-time decision. Even so, I'd expect Powell to get the majority of work if both are active on Saturday night.

Powell had a massive 34 touches last week against the 49ers and posted a 29/145/2 rushing line to go along with five catches for 34 yards. The matchup isn't nearly as favorable this week as the 49ers have one of the worst run defenses in the league, but the duo of Forte and Powell combined for 148 yards from scrimmage on 23 touches against the Dolphins in Week 9.

If Forte sits, Powell is a borderline RB1 this week. If he's active, Powell remains a solid RB2.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 15 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

RB - Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (at ATL)

Coming off his best game of the season, Hyde rushed for 193 yards and scored 26.0 fantasy points against the Jets in Week 14. Hyde had just one catch and one target, but he scored his second receiving touchdown in the past three games as well.

We are unlikely to see a repeat performance of last week, but one thing is for sure, Hyde should see lots of volume in a favorable matchup. With a minimum of 18 touches in four consecutive games, he has averaged nearly 20 touches per game on the year and the 49ers have shown a commitment to run the ball even in games where they trail by a lot.

With the 2016 season nearing a close, the Falcons have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. They have allowed a total of 16 touchdowns -- 11 rushing and five receiving -- to opposing running backs on the year.

RB - Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons (vs. SF)

Even though I expect a bounce-back game from Devonta Freeman, Coleman should be productive as well. The second-year back out of Indiana had a pair of touchdowns last week as the Falcons blew out the Rams. A big play waiting to happen, Coleman has scored nine times on 110 touches -- or roughly one touchdown per every 12.2 touches.

While Hyde has a great matchup, Coleman's is even better. Not only have the 49ers allowed the most fantasy points to the position, no team has allowed more yards per carry (4.99) to opposing RBs or more rushing touchdowns (19) to the position. In addition, the Falcons are projected to be this week's highest-scoring team using implied totals from Vegas odds.

Related: The Coleman/Freeman duo is a great play on DraftKings this week

RB - Robert Kelley, Washington Redskins (vs. CAR)

Even though he isn't much of a factor in the passing game, Kelley should get a heavy workload with a minimum of 14 carries in six consecutive games since taking over as the starter. During that six-game span, he has averaged 80.3 rushing yards per game and scored a total of five touchdowns. Considering the Redskins are home favorites and projected to score the second-most points this week, Kelley could get a few goal-line opportunities this week.

Week 15 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em

RB - Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles (at BAL)

While Darren Sproles has already been ruled out for Week 15, it's hard to trust Mathews in a tough matchup. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Ravens this season. Only the Cardinals (3.18 YPC) have allowed fewer yards per carry to the position than the Ravens (3.48) and they have surrendered just four rushing scores to running backs. Meanwhile, the Eagles are one of just six teams with an implied total under 18 points this week.

RB - Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos (vs. NE)

In his three games prior to Week 14, Booker had 24, 24 and 18 carries, respectively. Last week? Three. Even worse, he averaged just one foot per carry as he gained only one yard against the Titans. Booker had been anything but efficient, but he finished as a top-20 fantasy running back in the previous three weeks due to sheer volume. In his past six games, Booker has a total of 98 carries for 267 yards -- or 2.72 yards per carry.

Booker should get more touches this week (than he had last week), but Justin Forsett had nearly double the number of touches (nine) that Booker had in his debut with Denver. Considering Kubiak's history with Forsett, who already had familiarity with Kubiak's offense, it's certainly possible that the workload gap even widens this week as well.

RB - Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens (vs. PHI)

West had a Booker-like rushing performance with two carries for two yards against the Patriots last week although he added four receptions for 24 yards. It was the third time in seven games that West had single-digit touches even though he has the same number of games with 16-plus touches during that span. That said, Kenneth Dixon had a season-high 19 touches last week and has 17-plus in two of three games so I'd trust Dixon much more than I'd trust West this week.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 15

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Week 15 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Tyreek Hill is listed below as a "start" for Week 15. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 15 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Odell Beckham, Larry Fitzgerald and Hill and can only start two receivers, you should start OBJ and Fitz -- and in turn, bench Hill.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 15 Fantasy Football WR Start'em

WR - Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (vs. NO)

Fitzgerald had three catches for 12 yards last week in Miami and both of those were season-low totals for the 33-year-old veteran receiver. Before last week's disappointment, however, Fitzgerald had double-digit receptions in three of five games. In fact, Fitzgerald is averaging double-digit targets on the season.

Even though he was having an up-and-down season, the Cardinals released Michael Floyd following a DUI arrest after last week's game and J.J. Nelson has big-play ability but is inconsistent. So, in other words, Fitz should see 10 to 15 targets in a matchup where the Cardinals are expected to put up plenty of points.

Among the teams left to play this weekend, only the Falcons and Redskins are projected to score more points than the Cardinals, according to Vegas odds. And as much as Drew Brees has struggled over the past two weeks (zero touchdowns and six interceptions), it wouldn't surprise me if the Saints were able to put plenty of points this week as well.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 15 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (at SD)

Crabtree is listed as questionable on the injury report, but he's fully expected to play this week. Crabtree had four catches for just 21 yards last week and now has less than 30 yards in three of five games, but a bounce-back performance should be expected.

Earlier this season, Crabtree had a 3/47/1 performance against the Chargers, but Casey Heyward is now shadowing and will likely shadow Amari Cooper. In other words, I like Crabtree as much as or even more than Cooper this week. In fact, I have both just inside my top-10 fantasy wide receiver rankings this week.

WR - Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. TEN)

Even with Jeremy Maclin back in the lineup and Travis Kelce exploding with four consecutive 100-yard games, Hill is a viable WR2 this week against the Titans. The matchup is great as no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season the Titans.

One of the fastest players in the league, Hill has a pair of return scores in his past three games. But the explosive receiver also has 50-plus receiving yards in five consecutive games and six of his past seven in addition to 11 carries in his past eight games. Even as Maclin gets healthier, Hill should maintain a significant offensive role.

WR - Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins (vs. CAR)

As noted above, Washington has one of the two highest implied totals for Week 15. While his targets have been somewhat inconsistent, Crowder had double-digit fantasy points in six of his previous seven games prior to last week's 2/37 dud. Even though he's far from the biggest receiver, Crowder had 80-plus yards and/or a touchdown in each of those seven games. The matchup this week is favorable as the Panthers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, which means Crowder is a viable WR2 this week.

Week 15 Fantasy Football WR Sit'em

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)

It would be an understatement to say that Robinson has had a disappointing season. As bad as the season overall has been for AR15, it's been even worse recently. Here are his fantasy points scored over the past three weeks: 2.4 (WR83), 3.1 (WR69) and 1.7 (WR82), respectively. To be fair, the matchups were tough, but he doesn't have a great matchup this week either as the Texans have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this year.

WR - Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (at CHI)

In his past six games, Cobb has a total of 21 catches for 222 yards -- or 3.5/37.0 per game -- and two touchdowns on 28 targets (4.67/G). Despite playing with Aaron Rodgers in a favorable matchup against the Bears, Cobb is a distant third, at best, behind Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams when it comes to Green Bay receivers that I'd start. Considering the historically cold temperatures expected in Chicago for Sunday's game, you can do better than Cobb this week.

WR - Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers (at WAS)

Scoring less than two fantasy points in consecutive games, Benjamin has two (or fewer) receptions in three consecutive games. Since beginning the season with a bang (6/91/1 and 7/108/2 in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively), Benjamin has finished as a top-24 fantasy wide receiver in only one of 11 games -- WR23 in Week 12. With Josh Norman likely to shadow the under-performing wideout, it'd be foolish to expect a bounce-back performance to happen this week.

WR - Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (vs. MIA)

Marshall is expected to be on a "pitch count," but he has been brutal either way. Marshall has 45 yards or less in four of his past five games and clearly Robbie Anderson (double-digit targets in back-to-back games) is Bryce Petty's BFF. Not only does Marshall have single-digit targets in eight consecutive games, but he has scored just one touchdown during that span.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 15

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Week 15 Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Cameron Brate is listed below as a "start" for Week 15. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 15 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Travis Kelce and Brate, you should start Kelce -- and in turn, bench Brate.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 15 Fantasy Football TE Start'em

TE - Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (vs. IND)

Once again, Rudolph is one of the most-targeted tight ends in the league. In his past three games, Rudolph has 10, 12 and eight targets, respectively, and a combined 19 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown during that span. In those three games, he has a minimum of 23.53-percent target share. In other words, those are of three of his four most-involved games since Week 4.

Over their past five games, the Colts have defended tight ends better with no top-12 weekly finishes over that stretch. That said, they have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season so I expect Rudolph to get plenty of opportunities on Sunday.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 15 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (vs. OAK)

Gates had a five-week span with a minimum 20-percent target share, but then he had a total of four targets in two games (and worse, one of those was a goose egg). Last week, however, Gates caught five-of-nine targets (25-percent share) for 61 yards against the Panthers. With a top-12 matchup against the Raiders, Philip Rivers should once again look Gates' way early and often.

TE - Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at DAL)

Brate has a minimum of four catches and 40 yards in three consecutive games and in five of his past six. Going back to Week 8, Brate has scored in four of seven games. During that seven-game span, Brate has a 31/349/4 line on 40 targets.

The Cowboys have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to oppposing tight ends this season. Brate, who has averaged 8.41 fantasy points per game in his past seven, could be in store for another solid outing.

Week 15 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em

TE - Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (vs. PHI)

Here are Pitta's last six games: 2/14, 6/26, 3/30, 3/34, 9/90/2 and 4/18. One of these was clearly unlike the others and Pitta gets a difficult matchup this week agains the Eagles, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. It is highly unlikely that he bounces back in such a tough matchup.

TE - Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints (at ARI)

If Pitta has a tough matchup, Fleener's matchup is even more difficult. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. It would be surprising if Drew Brees were to have three terrible outings in a row, but the future Hall-of-Famer has zero touchdowns and six interceptions in his past two games. While Fleener is coming off a one-catch, six-yard performance as well, I have much more confidence in Brees' ability to bounce back than I do Fleener's.

TE - Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns (at BUF)

Barnidge has a better, not great, but better matchup than either Pitta or Fleener. Of course, that's obvious considering Pitta and Fleener have the worst two matchups at the position this week.

That said, Barnidge has no more than three catches, five targets or 27 yards in any of his past five games. Granted, he did score his only touchdown this season in one of those five games, but those five games have featured five of his six lowest yardage totals on the year. He had zero in Week 1 against the Eagles with RG3 under center.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 15

Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings:

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December 14, 2016

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Plays for Week 15

Every week of the 2016 NFL season, our contributors will provide their favorite DraftKings play of the week and share their thoughts in our weekly DFS Round Table post.

In some cases, the play is intended for tournaments (i.e., Guaranteed Prize Pools or GPPs); in other cases, it's for cash games (e.g., head-to-heads and 50-50's). Or both.

Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 15?

Sean Beazley: Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills ($5,900)

I really like Sammy Watkins this week in GPPs. I had 20% exposure to Watkins in tournaments last week and will probably have a little more this week as he gets a great matchup vs. the Browns. This is an offense you can definitely stack with Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy as well. Many may be off the Tyrod train this week, but I am all aboard. Watkins appears to be healthy finally and he has as much upside as any WR in the league giving his deep play potential. I could see a 8/140/2 type of game from him this week vs. the Browns.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 15 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Kevin Hanson: Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons ($6,700/$5,000)

Last week, I went with Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas as a double-WR stack against the poor Titans pass defense and both WRs reached the 100-yard mark on a combined 30 targets. Many of my tournament lineups this week will feature a pair of Falcons running backs against the woeful 49ers run defense. (Virtually all of my lineups will have one, if not both, of these two backs.)

The 49ers have allowed 10 100-yard rushers in their past 12 games with Jordan Howard (32/117/3) and Bilal Powell (29/145/2) doing plenty of damage in Weeks 13 and 14, respectively. No team has allowed more yards per carry (4.99) to opposing running backs, who have also rushed for 19 touchdowns and added three more receiving scores.

With Freeman coming off a disappointing performance in their blowout win, that will hopefully keep his ownership down slightly. Especially if Julio Jones plays (at less than 100 percent), I could see the Freeman/Coleman duo racking up 200-300 YFS, 5-10 receptions and a couple of touchdowns in this dream matchup.

Brendan Donahue: Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs ($5,700)

Hill's speed was on display on national TV last Thursday night and it seems like KC is figuring out what kind of weapon they now have in Hill. Over his past five games, he has caught at least four balls and had at least 52 receiving yards and scored double-digits on DK in each so he is starting to establish a decent floor. Within those five, he's also had three games where he's scored over 20 points with a high over 32.5 so he's also establishing a really high ceiling. This week he gets the Titans, who have given up the most points to opposing WRs so he's a must-play for me this week at just $5,700.

John Trifone: Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens ($3,800)

The clear value play at running back, Dixon is coming off a good game against the Patriots Monday night. He out-touched Terrance West with 11 carries and eight receptions, and should continue to see increased usage. Salaries came out before Dixon's good game, so I wouldn't overthink it. He's a solid option and the low price tag will help get in some of the higher-priced guys.

Dan Yanotchko: LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots ($5,000)

This week I have LeGerette Blount of the Patriots going up against the Denver Broncos. Last year the Broncos hit Tom Brady 20 times in the AFC Championship Game, and this year the Broncos are soft against the run. They allow 127 yards per game, 4.2 yards per carry, and 12 touchdowns on the year, and have allowed a 100-yard rusher in their last three games. Blount has an impressive four-game split -- 66 carries, 351 yards and two touchdowns. They are going to play this game like the Colts, run them into the ground.

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December 11, 2016

Week 14 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Hanson)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 14 NFL picks against the spread:

Green Bay Packers +3 over Seattle Seahawks (3 Units)

It would be an understatement to call the Packers season up to this point a disappointment. With a 6-6 record going into Week 14, the Packers would be on the outside looking in if the playoffs were to begin now.

Of course, they don't (begin now).

Green Bay will host the Seahawks this weekend and then play their division foes over the final three games. If they take care of business, there is a good chance they will make the playoffs.

Over the past few weeks, Aaron Rodgers has played better -- 291.0 YPG, eight TDs and no INTs in past three games -- and Jordy Nelson has a minimum of 91 yards in five of his past six games. In addition, Jordy has scored a touchdown in five of those six games. With Earl Thomas out and a group of talented pass-catchers at Rodgers' disposal, I think they pull off the upset at Lambeau (or at least keep it within a field goal).

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 14 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Carolina Panthers Pick'em over San Diego Chargers (2 Units)

What a year as it has been for the Panthers and what a start to last week's game! After benching the reigning MVP to start last week's game due to a dress code violation, Derek Anderson threw an interception. It didn't get much better from there as the Panthers were blown out 40-6.

The Panthers have allowed 75 points in their past two games to the Raiders (35) and Seahawks (40) and Luke Kuechly (concussion) will miss a third consecutive game. Essentially playing only for pride at this point in the season, Cam Newton and the Panthers could bounce back as Philip Rivers and the Chargers make the cross-country flight for a 1 p.m. game.

New England Patriots -6.5 over Baltimore Ravens (3 Units)

Without Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the season, Tom Brady may not carve up opposing secondaries on a weekly basis. And the Ravens have one of the best defenses in the league. That said, I trust him (without Gronk) much more than I trust Joe Flacco (with all of his weapons).

Historically, Flacco has played well against the Patriots and he's coming off his best game of the season, but the offense has otherwise struggled all year. Baltimore ranks 24th in the NFL in yards per offensive play (5.138) just ahead of the Browns (5.136).

- Note: All of our NFL picks against the spread will be centralized here.

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Week 14 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Beazley)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 14 NFL picks against the spread:

Carolina Panthers Pick'em over San Diego Chargers (5 Units)

I love this rebound spot for Cam Newton and the Panthers. I think Cam finishes the week as the top fantasy QB as well. The Panthers get Luke Kuechly back as well which will be a huge boost to a defense that has been struggling. Panthers 37, Chargers 24.

[Note: Kuechly has been ruled out for Week 14.]

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 14 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Los Angeles Rams +6 over Atlanta Falcons (5 Units)

Even if Julio Jones goes this week, he will be extremely limited or a decoy, as reported. The Rams have played decent at home this year, and I think they find a way to upset the Falcons here. I think Jared Goff has a multi-TD game and the Rams D gets to Matt Ryan. Rams 23, Falcons 17.

New York Giants +3.5 over Dallas Cowboys (5 Units)

The Cowboys are bound to trip up before the playoffs and this is the perfect spot. I think Odell Beckham has a big game in prime time and the Giants upset the Cowboys. Giants 24, Cowboys 23.

- Note: All of our NFL picks against the spread will be centralized here.

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December 09, 2016

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): DraftKings Tournament "Draft" for Week 14

Sean Beazley and I collaborated recently on putting together a tournament lineup for DraftKings main slate (Sunday games only) of Week 14 games.

Essentially, it was a draft with each of us alternating picks for the lineup. Sean had the first and odd-numbered picks; I had the second and even-numbered picks.

Below we will include analysis of each pick, but here is how the final roster shaped up:

QB - Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (vs. NYJ), $5,800
RB - Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. WAS), $4,000
RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (at CLE), $5,800
WR - Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (at TEN), $5,700
WR - Tyrell Williams, San Diego Chargers (at CAR), $6,100
WR - Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (at TEN), $6,000
TE - Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (vs. DEN), $4,400
FLEX - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (at MIA), $9,800
DST - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NO), $2,400

Below are the players in the order they were "drafted" (with comments by boths us):

1. Sean - Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles ($4,000): This is a must-win game for the Eagles Sunday as a loss certainly eliminates them from the playoff race this season. The Redskins run defense is pretty mediocre so I expect the Eagles to rely on the run game heavily. I won't go overweight on Mathews because he is a huge injury risk, but I definitely will have him on a bunch of teams this week. I can see a 20-point week out of Mathews.

Comments by Kevin: After missing a couple of games with a knee injury, Mathews is ready to return on Sunday. I almost never roster Mathews (when he's healthy), but it would certainly make sense for the Eagles to feed Mathews and establish the run game after Carson Wentz slung it 60 times in Week 13.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 14 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

2. Kevin - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,800): Certainly, the efficiency leaves a lot to be desired. That said, the volume and matchup gives Hill as much upside as virtually any running back this week. Hill has 18-plus touches in three consecutive games with 25 touches in last week's win and only the 49ers and Falcons have allowed more DK points to opposing running backs this season. Even though the Bengals are on the road, they are favored by 5.5 points against the winless Browns and I could see Hill getting another 20-25 touches with the possibility for a score (or two).

Comments by Sean: I’m a little hesitant to roster a RB who over the past two games has 35 carries for only 54 yards. Hill would need 64 carries this week to reach that 100 yard bonus! His price also increased $1,500 this week despite the gross YPC. With all this being said, Hill does have a great matchup vs. the Browns. I’ll bite on this play this week, because both Baltimore and Philly have pretty solid run defenses.

3. Sean - David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals ($9,800): Johnson’s price is almost $10K, which is absolutely crazy, but he is deserving of this price considering how he has played this year. Larry Fitzgerald’s production has dipped as the season has progressed, which has led to more work for DJ in the pass game. Johnson has had double-digit receiving targets in his last three games. The wheels will off the DJ bus eventually, but I am going to ride him until it happens.

Comments by Kevin: You have spend money to make money? No player is priced higher than Johnson this week, but the stud running back has 33-plus DK points in three consecutive games and at least 27 DK points in all but one game since Week 5. With double-digit targets in three consecutive games, Johnson, like Le'Veon Bell, is one of those rare players that could get the 100/100 (double-bonus) line in any given week.

4. Kevin - Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos ($5,700): While he had a 7/162/1 line in Week 12, Sanders has been frustrating to roster. That said, the volume has been there. Twelve wide receivers have at least a 25-percent share of their team's targets; two of them play for the Broncos. In fact, Sanders (28.64%) ranks second in the NFL in that category behind Tampa's Mike Evans (31.05%). Assuming that Trevor Siemian is the starter, I think both Sanders and Thomas can take advantage of the favorable matchup — Tennessee allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Comments by Sean: You don't have to sell me on picking WRs vs the Titans. Kevin and I both wrote up Broncos players in our roundtable this week. There are a couple of things that worry me early in the week. First being Trevor Siemian’s status. I expect him to go this week, but if he doesn't I won't have as much Manny this week. Also, the Titans did just come off a bye week. They have had two weeks to game plan and fine tune their D.

5. Sean - Tyrell Williams, WR, San Diego Chargers ($6,100): This is my favorite game of the week to target as I think this will be the highest-scoring game of the week. I absolutely love Cam Newton in a bounce-back spot after an embarrassing loss vs. the Seahawks last week. Cam will probably be my highest-owned QB in GPPs this week. Since I expect the Panthers to go nuts on offense, I believe the Chargers will have to throw the ball a lot. Williams is Rivers favorite option and I think he has a 7/120/1 type game this week.

Comments by Kevin: The good news is that Williams played nearly the entire game despite his shoulder injury and is practicing in full this week. Not only has Williams scored in four consecutive games, but he has double-digit targets in three of six and 100-plus yards in three of eight games. Williams should be able to reach value at his price point and there is some upside as Philip Rivers should throw more often than he did last week (26 attempts).

6. Kevin - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos ($6,000): Even though Sanders has the second-highest target share in the NFL this season, Thomas has double-digit targets in six of his past seven games. As noted above, the matchup is great and due to the volume for both receivers, I think both can be productive.

Comments by Sean: It looks like Kevin is going in the direction of a Denver stack this week with DT. I do have some concerns as noted above. In a GPP though, I am on board with the play.

7. Sean - Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans ($4,400): Giving the roster build of having exposure to two Denver WRs, we are hoping for a shootout in this game. I’m going to come back with Delanie Walker as he is the Titans best threat In their passing attack. I think the Denver corners will have an easy time shutting down Rishard Matthews, Kendall Wright, and Tajae Sharpe. Walker has as much upside as any other TE on this slate.

Comments by Kevin: I'd like for Walker's target volume to be more consistent, but I'd expect a higher volume of targets for him this week given the matchup. It's certainly tougher to beat the Broncos on the outside. And even though he has 50 yards or less in three of his past four games, Walker has scored a touchdown in three games during that stretch.

8. Kevin - Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers ($5,800): Kaepernick was benched after throwing for only four yards and burned plenty of owners last week, but he gets another shot in a favorable matchup. Before last week, Kaepernick had finished as a top-eight weekly quarterback in four consecutive games. While I wouldn't roster him in cash games (head-to-heads, 50/50's, etc.), the upside remains just as high as ever in tournaments. With Thomas and Sanders dominating team targets, I could see both having productive PPR performances without Trevor Siemian having a monster game, but I considered him here as well.

Comments by Sean: Taking Thomas/Sanders at $12K off our salary we are hoping for roughly 50 points in tournaments. If we get that 50 then Siemian is a lock as well. It would suck to hit the nuts in a game stack and not have the QB. Kaepernick has more upside than Siemian, but I’d rather take the play that makes more sense based on our roster build.

9. Kevin - Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST ($2,400): Based on remaining salary, there aren't/weren't a lot of choices to fill our defense. The Bucs have been playing better defense during their four-game winning streak, they play at home and Drew Brees and the Saints are not as prolific of an offense as on the road as they are at home.

Comments by Sean: Tampa D has played better than expected this year. I’ll have a few shares of Tampa D this week as Brees does struggle on the road at times.

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December 08, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 14 to 16

Curious which tight ends have the most (or least) favorable strength of schedule for the rest of the season?

Based on the average fantasy points allowed per team, our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule ranks all 32 teams based on the average fantasy points surrendered by the remaining opponents on their schedule.

A Fantasy SOS may not be the most important factor in determining which player(s) to add off of the waiver wire (our Week 14 waiver-wire post) or evaluating trade proposals, but it gives you an idea of which players will have the best weekly matchups over the rest of the season.

Fantasy SOS for TEs (Weeks 14-16):

RankTeamTeam ScheduleAverage PointsFantasy Playoffs
1San Diego ChargersTeam Schedule10.1630.48
2Chicago BearsTeam Schedule9.5428.62
3Buffalo BillsTeam Schedule9.1827.54
4Dallas CowboysTeam Schedule9.0327.1
5Carolina PanthersTeam Schedule8.6125.83
6Houston TexansTeam Schedule8.5225.55
7Cleveland BrownsTeam Schedule8.4625.37
8New York GiantsTeam Schedule8.3925.17
9San Francisco 49ersTeam Schedule8.3224.95
10Tampa Bay BuccaneersTeam Schedule8.1224.37
11Detroit LionsTeam Schedule8.0424.12
12Minnesota VikingsTeam Schedule8.0224.05
13Atlanta FalconsTeam Schedule7.8823.63
14Cincinnati BengalsTeam Schedule7.823.4
15Kansas City ChiefsTeam Schedule7.6723
16Arizona CardinalsTeam Schedule7.6522.95
17Pittsburgh SteelersTeam Schedule7.6322.88
18Los Angeles RamsTeam Schedule7.5822.75
19Washington RedskinsTeam Schedule7.5522.65
20New York JetsTeam Schedule7.221.6
21Philadelphia EaglesTeam Schedule7.1821.53
22Oakland RaidersTeam Schedule7.1521.46
23New England PatriotsTeam Schedule6.8320.48
24Indianapolis ColtsTeam Schedule6.6920.07
25Jacksonville JaguarsTeam Schedule6.6619.98
26Denver BroncosTeam Schedule6.4219.27
27Green Bay PackersTeam Schedule6.3819.15
28Miami DolphinsTeam Schedule6.1918.57
29Baltimore RavensTeam Schedule6.0818.24
30Seattle SeahawksTeam Schedule5.9917.98
31New Orleans SaintsTeam Schedule5.8917.67
32Tennessee TitansTeam Schedule5.8117.42

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

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2016 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 14 to 16

Curious which wide receivers have the most (or least) favorable strength of schedule for the rest of the season?

Based on the average fantasy points allowed per team, our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule ranks all 32 teams based on the average fantasy points surrendered by the remaining opponents on their schedule.

A Fantasy SOS may not be the most important factor in determining which player(s) to add off of the waiver wire (our Week 14 waiver-wire post) or evaluating trade proposals, but it gives you an idea of which players will have the best weekly matchups over the rest of the season.

Fantasy SOS for WRs (Weeks 14-16):

RankTeamTeam ScheduleAverage PointsFantasy Playoffs
1Atlanta FalconsTeam Schedule25.9277.76
2Washington RedskinsTeam Schedule25.5276.55
3San Diego ChargersTeam Schedule25.476.19
4Denver BroncosTeam Schedule25.1975.57
5San Francisco 49ersTeam Schedule24.9274.75
6Oakland RaidersTeam Schedule24.6974.07
7Seattle SeahawksTeam Schedule24.5873.73
8New York JetsTeam Schedule24.3172.94
9Los Angeles RamsTeam Schedule24.2872.85
10Tampa Bay BuccaneersTeam Schedule24.2772.81
11New York GiantsTeam Schedule23.9271.77
12Chicago BearsTeam Schedule23.7471.21
12New Orleans SaintsTeam Schedule23.7471.22
14Minnesota VikingsTeam Schedule23.7171.12
15Carolina PanthersTeam Schedule23.5870.74
16Miami DolphinsTeam Schedule23.5670.69
17Detroit LionsTeam Schedule23.470.21
18Philadelphia EaglesTeam Schedule23.3169.94
19Buffalo BillsTeam Schedule23.2369.69
20Arizona CardinalsTeam Schedule23.0969.28
21Pittsburgh SteelersTeam Schedule22.6768.02
22Dallas CowboysTeam Schedule22.5967.77
23Baltimore RavensTeam Schedule22.567.51
24Cleveland BrownsTeam Schedule21.8765.62
25Cincinnati BengalsTeam Schedule21.8265.47
26Kansas City ChiefsTeam Schedule21.6865.03
27Houston TexansTeam Schedule21.5764.72
28New England PatriotsTeam Schedule21.3864.14
29Jacksonville JaguarsTeam Schedule21.0963.27
30Tennessee TitansTeam Schedule20.7762.32
31Green Bay PackersTeam Schedule20.7162.14
32Indianapolis ColtsTeam Schedule20.3861.13

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

More of our content:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

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2016 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 14 to 16

Curious which running backs have the most (or least) favorable strength of schedule for the rest of the season?

Based on the average fantasy points allowed per team, our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule ranks all 32 teams based on the average fantasy points surrendered by the remaining opponents on their schedule.

A Fantasy SOS may not be the most important factor in determining which player(s) to add off of the waiver wire (our Week 14 waiver-wire post) or evaluating trade proposals, but it gives you an idea of which players will have the best weekly matchups over the rest of the season.

Fantasy SOS for RBs (Weeks 14-16):

RankTeamTeam ScheduleAverage PointsTotal Points
1Los Angeles RamsTeam Schedule21.5164.54
2Carolina PanthersTeam Schedule21.3163.92
3Cincinnati BengalsTeam Schedule21.0763.21
4Atlanta FalconsTeam Schedule20.6862.03
5Buffalo BillsTeam Schedule20.5161.53
6San Diego ChargersTeam Schedule20.2860.83
7New York JetsTeam Schedule20.0260.06
8San Francisco 49ersTeam Schedule19.3157.94
9Cleveland BrownsTeam Schedule19.2957.87
10Oakland RaidersTeam Schedule18.9656.89
11Kansas City ChiefsTeam Schedule18.9156.74
12Indianapolis ColtsTeam Schedule18.7756.3
13Tampa Bay BuccaneersTeam Schedule18.6956.06
14Houston TexansTeam Schedule18.655.81
15Chicago BearsTeam Schedule17.9253.75
16Tennessee TitansTeam Schedule17.9153.74
17Minnesota VikingsTeam Schedule17.8953.66
18Arizona CardinalsTeam Schedule17.753.1
19Baltimore RavensTeam Schedule17.3652.07
20New Orleans SaintsTeam Schedule17.0151.03
21Dallas CowboysTeam Schedule16.9250.75
22Jacksonville JaguarsTeam Schedule16.8750.6
23Philadelphia EaglesTeam Schedule16.7950.37
24Pittsburgh SteelersTeam Schedule16.5949.76
25New England PatriotsTeam Schedule16.549.51
26Miami DolphinsTeam Schedule16.4749.4
27Seattle SeahawksTeam Schedule16.2548.75
28Denver BroncosTeam Schedule15.9647.89
29Washington RedskinsTeam Schedule15.6246.86
30Green Bay PackersTeam Schedule15.3546.04
31New York GiantsTeam Schedule15.2945.87
32Detroit LionsTeam Schedule15.2745.8

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

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Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

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2016 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 14 to 16

Curious which quarterbacks have the most (or least) favorable strength of schedule for the rest of the season?

Based on the average fantasy points allowed per team, our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule ranks all 32 teams based on the average fantasy points surrendered by the remaining opponents on their schedule.

A Fantasy SOS may not be the most important factor in determining which player(s) to add off of the waiver wire (our Week 14 waiver-wire post) or evaluating trade proposals, but it gives you an idea of which players will have the best weekly matchups over the rest of the season.

Fantasy SOS for QBs (Weeks 14-16):

1San Diego ChargersTeam Schedule18.5955.78
2Carolina PanthersTeam Schedule18.254.61
3Oakland RaidersTeam Schedule18.1254.37
4Chicago BearsTeam Schedule18.0554.16
4Tampa Bay BuccaneersTeam Schedule18.0554.16
6San Francisco 49ersTeam Schedule18.0354.08
7Denver BroncosTeam Schedule17.9253.75
8New York JetsTeam Schedule17.7953.38
8Buffalo BillsTeam Schedule17.7953.36
10New York GiantsTeam Schedule17.7153.14
11Minnesota VikingsTeam Schedule17.6953.08
12Houston TexansTeam Schedule17.5352.58
13Los Angeles RamsTeam Schedule17.3652.08
14Atlanta FalconsTeam Schedule17.2551.76
15Arizona CardinalsTeam Schedule17.0751.22
16Washington RedskinsTeam Schedule17.0251.07
17Cleveland BrownsTeam Schedule1751
18Dallas CowboysTeam Schedule16.6249.87
19Cincinnati BengalsTeam Schedule16.5649.68
20New Orleans SaintsTeam Schedule16.5249.57
21Baltimore RavensTeam Schedule16.4149.22
22Pittsburgh SteelersTeam Schedule16.3749.12
23Kansas City ChiefsTeam Schedule16.348.89
24Miami DolphinsTeam Schedule16.1648.49
25Seattle SeahawksTeam Schedule16.1448.41
26Detroit LionsTeam Schedule16.0148.02
27Philadelphia EaglesTeam Schedule15.5546.65
28Jacksonville JaguarsTeam Schedule15.5146.54
29Tennessee TitansTeam Schedule15.3846.13
30Indianapolis ColtsTeam Schedule15.3746.1
31New England PatriotsTeam Schedule15.0945.27
32Green Bay PackersTeam Schedule14.643.8

* Note: Totals above are the average and total fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

More of our content:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

Continue reading "2016 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 14 to 16" »


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December 07, 2016

DFS Roundtable: Favorite DraftKings Plays for Week 14

Every week of the 2016 NFL season, our contributors will provide their favorite DraftKings play of the week and share their thoughts in our weekly DFS Round Table post.

In some cases, the play is intended for tournaments (i.e., Guaranteed Prize Pools or GPPs); in other cases, it's for cash games (e.g., head-to-heads and 50-50's). Or both.

Who is your favorite DraftKings play for Week 14?

Sean Beazley: Trevor Siemian, QB, Denver Broncos ($5,100)

I am targeting a QB this week who is near minimum salary facing a defense that has giving up 21 or more points in seven straight games. That QB is Trevor Siemian at $5,100. Siemian is out of a walking boot, and from early reports is on track to play vs. the Titans this week.

The Titans did release CB Perrish Cox, who was one player we all loved to target in DFS, but their backups are just as bad. This team makes mediocre QBs like Matt Barkley look like Hall-of-Famers. I’ll be running a dozen-plus Siemian GPP stacks this week as I think they will be pretty much unowned.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 14 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Kevin Hanson: Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, WRs, Denver Broncos ($6,000/$5,700)

In his past seven games, Thomas has double-digit targets in six games. Meanwhile, Sanders has a minimum of nine targets in five consecutive games. Both of these wide receivers dominate team targets so they should combine for roughly 20 or so in a great matchup against the Titans. This year, the Titans have allowed 173 catches (5th-most in NFL) for 2,227 yards (3rd-most) and 14 touchdowns (tied, 7th-most) to opposing wide receivers. Based on their bargain salaries, Thomas (19th-most expensive WR) and Sanders (23rd-most) should easily exceed value with plenty of upside.

Brendan Donahue: Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers ($5,800)

Yes, I am going with the guy who set an NFL record last week by actually being sacked more times than he had yards passing in the game. I am willing to chalk that performance up to the weather. This pick might even have more to do with who the Niners are playing, as the Jets defense not only got torched by the Colts but looked disinterested while they were out there. Again, if you can overlook last week's performance, Kapernick was performing as a top-three fantasy QB over the previous four weeks and while he might not be the safest play, I am willing to take a chance on him for tournaments this week at just $5,800 at home vs. the Jets.

John Trifone: Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers ($4,900)

The Jets defense on Monday night was absolutely terrible. With nothing left to play for and Bryce Petty taking over at quarterback for the last four games, I expect the 49ers and Hyde to have plenty of opportunities to put up fantasy points. When healthy, Hyde has been a workhorse back, and I think a 100-yard game and a touchdown is well within his range of outcomes. He could score multiple TDs, but certainly has a safe floor with upside. For $4,900, he's a strong play his week.

Dan Yanotchko: Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,100)

This week I like Andy Dalton of the Bengals, as he has the best possible matchup in the Browns. Dalton last two 300-yard games were 332 yards last week against Philly and 308 in Week 6 vs. Cleveland. The Browns passing defense is really bad allowing 259 yards per game, 28 touchdowns and they only have eight interceptions and 17 sacks on the year. It will definitely be raining points for the ginger.

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December 06, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football TE Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 14

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some tight end waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 14 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

1. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans (40 percent)

In three of his past four games, Fiedorowicz has failed to score at least five fantasy points. That said, he continues to see a steady volume of targets his way.

Since Week 4, Fiedorowicz has a minimum of five targets in every game and an average of 7.11/G over that nine-game span. And in the past three games, he's averaged 8.33/G. During that nine-game span, the third-year tight end has averaged 4.78/51.78/0.33 per game.

Fiedorowicz gets a favorable matchup this week against the Colts, who have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. In his first game this season against the Colts, Fiedorowicz had a 6/85/1 line on seven targets and finished the week as fantasy's TE3.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 14 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

2. Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers (23 percent)

Green's playing time continues to expand and the first-year Steeler had six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets in Week 13. With the team looking for a pass-catcher to step up beyond Antonio Brown (and Le'Veon Bell), Green could/should be that guy down the stretch.

3. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (33 percent)

Through Week 12, Pitta had zero touchdowns (despite being one of the most-targeted tight ends in the league). Through Week 13, he now has two. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't score another touchdown the rest of the season. Joe Flacco has only three multi-TD games this season. That said, he should continue to see a steady dose of targets in one of the league's most pass-happy offenses.

4. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts (29 percent)

Allen saw Pitta's two touchdowns and raised him a score. Turning three-quarters of his targets into touchdowns, Allen finished Monday Night Football with a 4/72/3 line against the Jets. Allen had five catches for 49 yards on six targets in Week 12. Of course, Allen won't score three touchdowns in a game again this season, but he remains a TD-dependent option going forward.

5. Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins (37 percent)

Davis now has five catches in back-to-back games as Jordan Reed missed Week 13 against the Cardinals. Davis has a minimum of 47 yards in six of his past seven games -- the miss was a Week 11 goose egg against the Packers. Especially if Reed misses another game, Davis will be a back-end TE1/high-end TE2 despite another difficult matchup against the Eagles.

6. Jermaine Gresham, Arizona Cardinals (three percent)

The upside with Gresham isn't great, but he now has five catches in back-to-back games, touchdowns in two of his past three games and six-plus targets in three of his past four games. With injuries (Rob Gronkowski and Reed) at the top of the position, Gresham is at least worth a look for those in dire need at the position.

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2016 Fantasy Football WR Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 14

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some wide receiver waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 14 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

1. Malcolm Mitchell, New England Patriots (29 percent)

Productive in Weeks 11 and 12, Mitchell scored a total of three touchdowns in those two games, but he had a total of only nine targets and no more than 14-percent target share in either of those two games. Week 13 was different. Mitchell had eight catches and 10 targets, both of which were season highs, and a 21.74-percent target share.

Not only is Rob Gronkowski out for the rest of the season, but Danny Amendola is now dealing with a high-ankle sprain. With the Pats running more three-wide sets with Gronk out and Mitchell gaining the trust of Tom Brady, he is a must-add for those in any league size.

2. Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns (48 percent)

Since returning from his multi-game absence, Coleman has only 13 total receptions in four games with no more than 41 yards in any of those games. That said, he has 31 targets (7.75/G) and RG3 is likely to get the Week 14 start and down the stretch.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 14 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

3. Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers (20 percent)

Inman had just two catches and five targets, both of which were seven-game lows, but he finished with 49 yards and a touchdown to score double-digit fantasy points in his second consecutive game. Even though the absolute number of targets were a seven-game low, Inman now has at least 20-percent target share in four consecutive games.

The Chargers receivers get a favorable matchup in Week 14 against the Panthers, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, and then the Raiders and Browns in Weeks 15 and 16.

4. Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati Bengals (16 percent)

In the first two games since the A.J. Green hamstring injury, LaFell had nine targets in each game but only 32 and 38 yards, respectively. Last week, LaFell had fewer targets (seven), but he was much more efficient and productive (5/95/1). Dealing with a Grade 2 hamstring tear, it appears that AJG is still a week or two, if not more, away from returning.

5. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (46 percent)

Floyd had only three catches for 18 yards on Sunday and he now has 31 yards or less in three consecutive games. That said, the good news is Floyd had eight targets (18.6-percent target share, his highest since Week 3) and scored a touchdown Sunday. In addition, he's re-emerged as the clear No. 2 receiver after Larry Fitzgerald in the Cardinals offense.

6. Ted Ginn Jr., Carolina Panthers (23 percent)

Ginn now has three-plus catches and 40-plus yards in seven consecutive games and touchdowns in each of his past three. During that span, however, he has an additional six carries so has at least five touches in six of his past seven games. That said, he has no more than seven targets in any of those games and remains a TD-dependent fantasy option.

7. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (32 percent)

Garcon had seven catches for 78 yards on Sunday and he now has at least six catches and 67 yards in four of his past five games. If tight end Jordan Reed misses another game in Week 14, Garcon will be in the WR3 mix.

8. Will Fuller, Houston Texans (43 percent)

One week after hauling in four catches for 60 yards, Fuller had five catches for 59 yards against the Packers. It's hard to trust any of Houston's receivers, primarily due to Brock Osweiler's struggles, but there is some upside with the explosive rookie receiver.

9. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (37 percent)

Lockett had five catches for 63 yards on six targets and a 75-yard touchdown run to have his best performance of the season. He now has six targets (16-percent target share) in three of his past five games. Dangerous in the open field, Lockett's talent warrants a larger offensive role (although it's hard to count on it) and the Seahawks get a favorable matchup in Week 14 against the Packers.

10. Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars (11 percent)

Lee had just three catches for 34 yards in Week 13 against the Broncos, but the good news is that he continues to see heavy volume in the pass game. Lee now has a 20-percent share in three consecutive games and in four of his past five. In fact, he now has at least six targets in 10 of the 11 games since Week 2. Unfortunately, the Jags have a couple more tough matchups on the horizon with Minnesota in Week 14 and Houston in Week 15.

11. Taylor Gabriel, Atlanta Falcons (38 percent)

After four consecutive top-15 weekly performances, Gabriel finished as fantasy's WR55 in Week 13, but he actually had a season-high six targets. Over his past five games, the speedster has 18/315/4 receiving with 3/51/1 rushing. Depending on the status of Julio Jones (turf toe) and Mohamed Sanu (groin), both of whom were dealing with injuries at the end of Week 13's loss to the Chiefs, Gabriel could see similar volume in Week 14.

12. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (16 percent)

Since Week 5, Thielen has 39 catches for 512 yards and three touchdowns on 53 targets over eight games. Better in PPR formats, Thielen has now finished as a top-35 PPR wide receiver in four consecutive games.

13. Dorial Green-Beckham, Philadelphia Eagles (eight percent)

Green-Beckham now has double-digit targets in back-to-back games. With Carson Wentz throwing it 60 times and Jordan Matthews sidelined on Sunday, it's disappointing that DGB had just four catches for 29 yards on his 10 targets. Matthews should return this week, but DGB should see 6-8 targets.

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2016 Fantasy Football RB Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 14

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some running back waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 14 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

1. Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens (46 percent)

Even with the Ravens winning by 32 points on Sunday, Dixon had just six carries and backfield mate Terrance West (13) had more touches than Dixon (10). The good news, however, is that Dixon actually ran for a season-high 56 yards (9.3 yards per carry) and he has exceeded 6.0 yards per carry in three of his past four games.

Over that four-game span, Dixon has rushed for 183 yards on 31 carries (5.90 YPC) and he has four-plus receptions in three of those games as well. While Dixon has been effective on a per-touch basis, one of his concerns is that West is more likely to get the goal-line opportunities and West scored a pair of touchdowns on Sunday.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 14 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

2. Mike Gillislee, Buffalo Bills (23 percent)

Gillislee missed Week 12 with a hamstring injury and he's a clear second to LeSean McCoy on the depth chart. That said, he is starting to see a steady rise in workload and he's been highly productive in the red zone.

Not only does Gillislee have a minimum of eight carries in each of his past four games, but he now has six touchdowns in his past seven games played. With a minimum of 7.2 fantasy points in four consecutive games, Gillislee has finished as a top-15 weekly performer in three of those four weeks.

The Bills have a pair of fantasy-friendly matchups coming up against the Steelers and Browns. Both teams rank among the top-six in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs this season.

3. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (45 percent)

Expected to be part of a 1-2 rushing attack with DeMarco Murray, it has been more of a 1-1 attack with Murray followed by some more Murray. That said, Henry now has eight-plus carries in three of four games. (Of course, the exception was a Week 11 goose egg.)

In his most recent game (Week 12 before their bye), Henry had eight carries for 60 yards and a touchdown against the Bears. Henry now has two touchdowns in his past four games and the team has talked about getting Henry more involved in short-yardage situations.

4. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13 percent)

Sims is eligible to return from IR this week and the team plans to activate him in time to return for Sunday's game against the Saints. Sims has been productive in a third-down, change-of-pace role for the Bucs and Doug Martin has historically struggled with durability. The Bucs get a pair of matchups against the Saints (Weeks 14 and 16) and the Cowboys (Week 15) in the fantasy playoffs.

5. Justin Forsett, Denver Broncos (six percent)

With Devontae Booker struggling with efficiency (3.29 YPC or worse in five consecutive games) and Kapri Bibbs sent to IR, the Broncos claimed Forsett off waivers. Considering Forsett had the best season of his career playing for Gary Kubiak in Baltimore, it's possible that he earns some opportunities sooner than later. That said, he hasn't been all that effective with the Ravens or the Lions this season.

6. Rex Burkhead, Cincinnati Bengals (five percent)

Burkhead lost a fumble last week, but he had 12 touches -- eight carries and four receptions -- for 66 yards. The Bengals get a favorable matchup in Week 14 against the Browns, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs after the 49ers.

7. Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (44 percent)

Scoring his second touchdown on the season, McKinnon had 55 yards from scrimmage and a score on 14 touches on Sunday. He now has 12-plus touches in three consecutive games. Adrian Peterson may or may not return this season, but both McKinnon and/or Matt Asiata lack upside as the Vikings are averaging a league-low 3.0 YPC this season.

8. Shane Vereen, New York Giants (three percent)

Designated as the team's player to return from IR, Vereen is eligible to return in Week 14 and is expected to resume practicing on Wednesday. Vereen is worth a look in PPR formats.

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2016 Fantasy Football QB Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 14

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

With that said, here are some quarterback waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 14 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

1. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (23 percent)

Coming off his best game of the season, Flacco threw for 381 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in Sunday's win over the Dolphins. Even in a 32-point victory, he threw it 47 times. Only the winless Browns and the Packers, who had been decimated by injuries at running back, have thrown it on a higher percentage of their offensive plays than the Ravens this season.

The Ravens are touchdown underdogs to the Patriots on Monday Night Football so Flacco should drop back to pass 40-plus times once again. Even so, Flacco has thrown for 300-plus yards and/or multiple touchdowns in only four of 12 games despite ranking second in the NFL in pass attempts (497) behind Drew Brees (500).

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 14 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

2. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (27 percent)

Bad news first: Smith has thrown for zero or one touchdown in five consecutive games. More bad news: Smith failed to take advantage of this exact matchup the first time around: 19-of-22 for 224 yards and no TDs (8.86 fantasy points, QB28).

The good news is that he's likely to get back Jeremy Maclin, who has sat out the past four games. In addition, his next two matchups against the Raiders and Titans are favorable. Both teams have ranked amongst the top-12 most generous defenses to fantasy quarterbacks this season.

3. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (48 percent)

After completing just one-of-five pass attempts for four yards, Kaepernick was benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert. As disappointing as that was for anyone that had started him or played him in daily fantasy, Kaep will remain the starter heading into Week 14.

Assuming that he is also the finisher in Week 14 against the Jets, he may be in consideration in Week 15 against the Falcons. The matchup is favorable this week, but I wouldn't play him with my playoff life/lives on the line this week or in DFS cash games.

But I will have a few shares of him in DFS tournaments this weekend. Before last week, Kaepernick had finished as fantasy's QB8 (or better) in four consecutive weeks.

4. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (32 percent)

Wentz has not been great, or even good, lately. In his past five games, the rookie out of North Dakota State has thrown three touchdowns and eight interceptions. That said, Wentz has thrown 43-plus pass attempts in four of his past six games including 60 on Sunday. In addition, he has a minimum of 15 fantasy points in three consecutive games.

Wentz was horrible the first time these two teams met, but the Redskins have allowed a top-12 weekly QB finish in their past five of six games with Week 10 (Sam Bradford, QB13) being the lone exception.

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December 04, 2016

Week 13 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Hanson)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 13 NFL picks against the spread:

New York Giants +6 over Pittsburgh Steelers (3 Units)

The Giants have rebounded from a three-game losing streak to win their past six games. Granted, their level of competition has been low (Browns, Bears, Rams, etc.) during that winning streak, but Eli Manning has thrown multiple touchdowns in five of those six games. While the Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers play better at home, I do think that the Giants can keep this game within a touchdown. Pittsburgh's pass defense ranks in the bottom half of the league in yards per game (263, 23rd) and yards per attempt (7.4, 21st).

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 13 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Buffalo Bills +3 over Oakland Raiders (3 Units)

I love what the Raiders have done so far this season and think they are for real. As a fan of an NFC team, I'm actually "rooting" for the Raiders to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 51. That said, I like Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins to be able to score some points and to keep this game within a field goal. Not that they are necessarily looking ahead, but the Raiders will face all three of their division rivals on the road in the final four weeks and have a short turnaround as they face the Chiefs this upcoming Thursday.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins, Under 40.5 (3 Units)

The Dolphins are on a six-game winning streak powered by Jay Ajayi, but they will face the league's best rush defense as the Ravens allow 74.9 rush yards per game. On the other hand, Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense leave a lot to be desired. Only the Brock Osweiler-led Texans and Jared Goff-led (or Case Keenum-led) Rams have scored fewer touchdowns per game than the Ravens. It looks like the Dolphins could very well be without DeVante Parker, who has stepped up recently, so I could see this game being a 20-17 or lower-scoring type of game.

- Note: All of our NFL picks against the spread will be centralized here.

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Week 13 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Yanotchko)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 13 NFL picks against the spread:

Atlanta Falcons -5.5 over Kansas City Chiefs (3 Units)

This week, the Chiefs have another massive road test flying out to the East coast to take on the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. The Chiefs are coming off a big emotional divisional game against the defending champions, and I think they will be due for a let-down this week. The Falcons have exactly the right personnel available to attack the Chiefs, as Kansas City's secondary has been like a sieve this year to opposing wide receivers. The Chiefs allow 261 yards passing to opposing quarterbacks, and they also have given up 20 touchdowns through the air as well. I really like the Falcons at home in the dome, and having Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Taylor Gabriel to go against a Chiefs team that will be without Jeremy Maclin again.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 13 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Miami Dolphins +3.5 over Baltimore Ravens (3 Units)

The Dolphins will certainly have a test this week to see if they are truly for real, as they are coming into this game winners of their last six ball games. The Ravens lead the AFC North for now, and one would think that the Ravens at home with the best run defense in the league will slow down Jay Ajayi. Over the last six games, Ajayi has been on fire, as he has posted the following split 730 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns over that span. Also, don't sleep on the Dolphins passing offense, as they have emerged with dual threats in Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker, and you can certainly exploit the Ravens secondary that gives up 223 yards passing per game and 20 touchdowns. I think this will be a close game overall and when in doubt, take the points as always.

Chicago Bears +2 over San Francisco 49ers (4 Units)

Outside of Cleveland of course, this game features the two other worst teams in the league, and well, I think, this one is more for draft positioning than anything. Although the Bears have lost two starting quarterbacks this year, Matt Barkely did a credible job last week in his first start, and if it wasn't for the backup receivers having the drops, they would have beaten Tennessee. The Bears have also found a bright spot in running back Jordan Howard, who over the last four games has posted a stat line of 414 yards rushing, two touchdowns, and also hauled in eight catches for 114 yards as well. Howard has the dream matchup against a 49ers defense that allows 171.8 yards rushing per game and 5.1 yards per carry. I know a lot of people love Colin Kaepernick this week, but the Bears are better than the Niners at home.

- Note: All of our NFL picks against the spread will be centralized here.

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Week 13 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Beazley)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 13 NFL picks against the spread:

Detroit Lions +6 over New Orleans Saints (5 Units), Over 53.5 (5 Units)

The Saints are great at home, and score a ton of points in the dome. The Lions have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, so I expect Drew Brees and the Saints offense to eat. I think the Lions can keep pace with them as well. As I mentioned in our DFS Roundtable and our joint picks this week, I am going to be targeting a lot of players from this game. Saints 37, Lions 33.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 13 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

New England Patriots -13 over Los Angeles Rams (5 Units)

The loss of Rob Gronkowski, I think, will end the Super Bowl dreams for the Patriots this year, but they should have no problem beating the Rams. The key in this one will be Pats QB Steve Grogan. I think he hits Stanley Morgan on a couple of deep scores … On a serious note, Jeff Fisher is the worst. The player I like the most in DFS this week is Dion Lewis. I think he finds the end zone twice. Patriots 34, Rams 14.

Arizona Cardinals -2 over Washington Redskins (5 Units)

I've lost so many “units” on the Cardinals this year, so why not another max bet placed on them?! Carson Palmer’s play has significantly dropped off this year, but they still have David Johnson to run the ball. I think DJ has a big game and the Cardinals D has a big game shutting down the 'Skins. Cardinals 23, Redskins 16.

- Note: All of our NFL picks against the spread will be centralized here.

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Week 13 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Trifone)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are my Week 13 NFL picks against the spread:

Kansas City Chiefs +5.5 over Atlanta Falcons (3 Units)

The Chiefs are coming off an impressive come-from-behind victory in Denver last week and have set themselves up for a playoff run. They'll need to continue playing well down the stretch, and with Jeremy Maclin ruled out, we should see a good bit of Tyreek Hill. I like a close game that the Chiefs may win outright, so I'll grab the 5.5 here.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 13 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

Denver Broncos -3.5 over Jacksonville Jaguars (4 Units)

The Broncos late loss to Kansas City last week means they'll have some work to do if the defending champs want to make another run at it. Rookie Paxton Lynch will be the starter, and while the Jags pass defense has been good this year, I have more confidence in Lynch this week than I do in Blake Bortles against the Broncos the way he has been playing this year. I don't think the Jags score enough here, and Denver is too good in a very winnable game to let this be the game that kills their playoff hopes. I'll go against the grain and take the small road favorite to cover.

Cincinnati Bengals -2 over Philadelphia Eagles (3 Units)

The Eagles may have a bright future with Carson Wentz at the helm, but the future is not now. After a great start, Philly has regressed to what they really are. They're a middle-of-the-pack team with a solid defense but very weak offense. They have injuries at the running back and wide receiver position, and may have to rely on Dorial Green-Beckham as their No. 1 receiver this week. I think these are two pretty comparable teams and with home field alone, I like Cincy by three or so. I'll give the 2.

New York Giants +6 over Pittsburgh Steelers (4 Units)

We're all waiting for the Steelers to rise up to be the team to challenge New England and potentially come out of the AFC, but at 6-5, they need to secure a playoff spot first. I expect an offensive game, but the Giants defense has been getting better and better as the season goes on, and I think six points is too much. The Giants offense should be able hang in with Pittsburgh, and the Steelers should win the game, but I see less than a touchdown as the difference.

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December 03, 2016

Week 13 Fantasy Football: Tight Ends Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, C.J. Fiedorowicz is listed below as a "start" for Week 13. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 13 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Jimmy Graham and Fiedorowicz, you should start Graham -- and in turn, bench Fiedorowicz.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 13 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 13 Fantasy Football TE Start'em

TE - C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans (at GB)

As much as the Texans offense, particularly the pass offense, has struggled this season, Fiedorowicz has emerged as a steady and consistent option. The third-year tight end now has a streak of eight games with at least five targets and he's averaged 6.88 per game over that stretch with a line of 4.63/52.75/0.38 and 7.53 fantasy points per game.

The matchup this week is favorable as the Packers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points this season. On the year, only the Bills and Buccaneers have allowed more Y/R to opposing tight ends than the Packers (13.2 Y/R). Over their past four games, they have allowed four tight ends to exceed six fantasy points.

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a $3 Week 13 contest with $50,000 paid to 1st place and is FREE for new depositors. Enter here.

TE - Vance McDonald, San Francisco 49ers (at CHI)

With the exception of his first start, Colin Kaepernick has consistently targeted McDonald, who has six-plus targets in five consecutive games. In his past four games, McDonald has finished as a top-four weekly tight end twice. In his past four games, he has a minimum of 46 yards each week and a total of 240 yards and two touchdowns.

There are a number of top tight ends out this week. Not only will Rob Gronkowski miss the next two months following back surgery, but Jordan Reed has been ruled out as well and Delanie Walker is on bye. While it's hard to trust any of San Francisco's wide receivers on a weekly basis, McDonald is certainly a viable streamer this week and he's owned in only 19 percent of Yahoo! leagues as of Saturday morning.

TE - Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at SD)

Over his past five games, Brate has scored a touchdown and finished as a top-12 weekly tight end in three of those games. In addition, he has five-plus targets in four of those games. With less than 50 yards in four of those five games, Brate is a TD-dependent option at tight end, but Jameis Winston often looks his way in the red zone and he's just inside my top-12 tight ends this week.

Week 13 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em

TE - Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (vs. MIA)

Even though Pitta ranks fifth among tight ends in targets (74) this season, he has finished as fantasy's weekly TE14 (or worse) in nine consecutive games. During that span, he has scored an average of 3.31 fantasy points per game in standard-scoring formats.

In addition, Pitta's volume of targets has decreased recently with just 19 (4.75/G) over his past four games compared to 8.14/G in the first seven games of the year. Pitta gets a favorable matchup as the Dolphins allow the 11th-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, but the likelihood that Pitta is able to exploit it is fairly low.

TE - Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers (vs. HOU)

In typical Cook fashion, he went from being fantasy's top-scoring tight end one week to the TE50 the next. In Week 11 against the Redskins, Cook had six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. In Week 12, he had one catch for seven yards on two targets. With a matchup against the Texans, typically stingy against opposing tight ends, Cook is merely a roll of the dice in DFS tournaments than anything more than that.

TE - Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (at NYJ)

A viable streamer at times this season, Doyle has scored the 14th-most fantasy points among tight ends (12th-most in PPR formats) on the year. That said, Doyle has exactly two targets in back-to-back games and three of fewer in three of his past four games. With Dwayne Allen back for the past three games, neither tight end is reliable enough to trust as a starter in 12-team leagues.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 13

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Week 13 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Jamison Crowder is listed below as a "start" for Week 13. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 13 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald and Crowder and can only start two receivers, you should start Jones and Fitzgerald -- and in turn, bench Crowder.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 13 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Week 13 Fantasy Football WR Start'em

WR - Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins (at ARI)

What a season it has been for Crowder! Crowder has finished as a top-33 fantasy wide receiver in seven consecutive games and in nine of his past 10. On the year, Crowder has actually been better in standard-scoring formats (11th-most fantasy points) than he has in PPR formats (14th-most).

Either way, he has vastly exceeded expectations.

During that 10-game span since Week 2, he has scored less than 8.8 fantasy points only once (Week 4) and he has averaged 10.85 per game over that stretch. And he's been even better over his past five games with three 100-yard outings with a total of 31 catches for 442 yards and three touchdowns on 41 targets.

With Jordan Reed out and Tyrann Mathieu doubtful, it helps Crowder for different reasons. Reed's absence could/should lead to more targets and Mathieu's absence improves an otherwise difficult matchup.

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WR - Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)

Thomas is coming off a 9/108/2 game, but he has been consistent despite being a rookie playing in a spread-it-around type of offense. Thomas has a minimum of four catches and 40 yards in every game this season. There are only three players that have 11 games of 4/40 this season: Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald and Thomas.

Since Week 3, Thomas has an average of 6.1/75.0 on 8.1 targets per game with seven TDs in nine games so there is plenty of upside in addition to his established floor. With no team is projected to score more points this week and given how well Drew Brees and the Saints offense play at home, all of the Saints should be popular plays in daily fantasy this week.

WR - Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (vs. LA)

With Rob Gronkowski (back surgery) out for two months, Edelman should be peppered with targets by Tom Brady all game long. That's what happened with Gronk sidelined two weeks ago when Edelman had a season-high 17 targets (44.74% target share).

In fact, Edelman now has double-digit targets in back-to-back games. Not only does Edelman have seven-plus catches in three consecutive games, but each of his three highest weekly yardage totals this season have come in those three games.

Expecting him to get double-digit targets (12 or so) in a plus matchup (vs. LA, 8th-most FPA to WRs) for a team with the second-highest implied total from Vegas odds, Edelman could finish as a top-10 receiver this week.

WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (vs. BUF)

Crabtree was limited in practice this week by an ankle injury, but he's a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 this week. Crabtree has been a little boom-or-bust lately. Over his past five games, Crabtree has 8/96 or better in three games, but only 27 and five yards in the other two games. That said, the two duds were against tough pass defenses (Denver and Houston). During that five-game span, Crabtree has averaged 10.6 targets per game.

Week 13 Fantasy Football WR Sit'em

WR - Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers (at SEA)

Benjamin began the season with a bang -- 13/199/3 in his first two games. Since then, his best weekly finish has been the WR23 (last week). During that nine-game span, Benjamin has averaged 3.89 catches and 59.67 yards per game and has scored just two touchdowns. Even though he doesn't always shadow, I'd expect Richard Sherman to shadow Benjamin as he's the team's clear-cut WR1, which makes Benjamin more of a fantasy WR3 this week than a must-start.

WR - Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (vs. HOU)

Over his past four games, Cobb has finished as fantasy's WR34, WR59, WR28 and WR68, respectively. With the running back on the roster getting healthier, the Packers were more run-pass balanced last week than they have been in a long time. Against the low-powered Texans offense, Aaron Rodgers may not need to sling it all over Lambeau Field either.

When he has recently, however, Cobb has not been as big of a factor in the passing game as he was earlier in the season. In the first six games of the season, Cobb had 20-percent target share five times. Since then, however, he's been at 4.76, 14.55, 11.63 and 18.42 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the Texans have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

WR - Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (at BAL)

It seems as though DeVante Parker (listed as "questionable") will miss Sunday's game against the Ravens. “Right now, this moment, we got to make sure we have a plan in place if he doesn’t make it,” [OC Clyde] Christensen said.

Parker's absence would give Landry a boost, but the previously target-dominant Landry has gone from double-digit targets in each of his first four games to an average of 6.29/G since then. Part of Landry's diminished role in the passing game has been due to Parker's increased role, but the team has transformed themselves into a run-first team lead by Jay Ajayi.

Right now, Landry is ranked in the 35-40 range of my wide receiver rankings. Assuming Parker sits, he'd get bumped up to the 25-30 range, but he'd still be outside of my top-24 wideouts for Week 13, making him a WR3.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 13

Week 13 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Week 13 DFS Resources:

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Continue reading "Week 13 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em" »


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